The Line Array Project #1: Introduction

As promised, this new website is going to focus on a range of pro audio topics. I’m going to begin with a project I have been working on on-and-off for a number of years now, a new look at how we understand line array.

This is an educational project, through which I hope to help readers improve their understanding of line array behaviour. I’ll be focussing on answering two key questions: 1) how does line array really behave; and 2) how is that behaviour really achieved? I’ll be exploring this through a mixture of approaches including reviews of existing literature, theoretical discussion, and some of my own research. In particular I’m going to be sharing a computational model I have developed which I have found to reveal some particularly valuable insights. Some of what I have to share I genuinely believe to be a fresh, revelatory, and potentially new way of understanding line array – at least in so far as the information currently available in the public domain, I’ve not seen this approach replicated elsewhere – so for the live audio geeks I hope this will be particularly interesting.

Why the line array project?

Over the course of the last 20 years line array has shifted from an impractical, problem ridden concept, to become a dominant approach in live audio reinforcement, particularly for larger scale venues. Some of this is fashion, but a large part of it is also due to the fact that, having ironed out the initial problems, line array conveys a number of distinct benefits for audio reinforcement.

Whilst this rise in application and popularity has been meteoric, it seems that education regarding line array, it’s design and deployment has not entirely kept up. Demand for line array focussed education is high as more and more engineers find themselves regularly working with and designing line array systems, yet supply of quality education in this area is low and oversubscribed. I recall attending d&b’s UK based line array training course a couple of years ago, at the time this was run bi-monthly and had a 6 month waiting list. At SFL my managing director, Mark Payne, runs an excellent line array course twice a year which is consistently oversubscribed. Literature on line array is also limited (I’m intending to present a literature review in one of my following posts), and not all of what is available is reliable.

This educational void has long frustrated me. I remember in my early career being distinctly aware of the limitations of my own knowledge in this area, and the lack of reliable resources to help me educate myself. Eventually I turned to my own investigations, which form the basis of this project and I hope will be helpful in turn to others. In particular, I am passionate about correcting and dispelling some of the more popular line array myths that are out there.

Post #2 coming soon.

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