So line arrays ... what are they all about? how do they work & what is ''array processing'' ? Here at On Tour Events we stock a couple of different line array PA systems but today we are going to talk about the d&b Audiotechnik systems & how the d&b Audiotechnik array processing works (This is a quick overview based on what d&b audiotechnik say / explaining how it all works).
Line arrays have dramatically improved the reproduction of sound for large audiences. The associated software has also evolved to a stage where the performance of complete PA systems can be comprehensively simulated. While this is already a huge improvement to the situation from before, arrays can still be optimised further to provide an even better tonal balance and level distribution.
This goes beyond what is achievable with precise mechanical aiming alone, and relies on the individual processing of every box in the array. d&b's Audiotechnik approach to this technology is called Array Processing. To use Array Processing effectively, correct venue data and meaningful splay angles are required.
The vertical dispersion of an array depends on its length and mechanical shape. It is also frequency dependent. This means that the tonal balance or spectral distribution and the level or spacial distribution cannot be completely consistent. This fact is visualised in the level over distance plot in Array Calc. The tonal balance is only consistent in areas where the two frequency lines are parallel. Mathematically a solution can be derived that makes the tonal balance completely consistent.
Let's investigate this for three example frequencies. To achieve constant level for a given frequency over the audience area, the array would need to have a specific mechanical configuration. However, to achieve exactly the same result even for a neighbouring frequency the array shape would have to be completely different. Obviously a real world array can only have one given mechanical shape at a time. Still, by applying complex FIR filters to each cabinet individually the equivalent of the required mechanical shape can be achieved virtually.
This purely mathematical approach has been tried but the results did not meet our sonic expectations. Instead, the processing is calculated in a way that morphs along the array rather than making sudden and drastic changes, this means that the virtual shape of the array is transitioning smoothly between frequencies, resulting in the sonic footprint known from d&b Audiotechnik. So, what is Array Processing actually doing? When a room model and the array designs are finalised in Array Calc, the Array Processing option can be enabled which triggers the analysis process.
The performance of an array is analysed for a large number of receive points along all listening planes within its coverage. For every receive point the sound of every loud speaker is calculated across 240 individual frequency bands. The optimisation process evaluates a pre-defined target frequency response, used definable settings for level over distance and processing emphasis. The result is a clever combination of FIR and IIR filter for each individual cabinet. This method keeps the additional system delay for array processing at just 5.9 milliseconds.
So, what are the benefits and the most important effects? With Array Processing an array creates a constant tonal balance throughout its entire coverage with a user definable level distribution which can really help when your putting on a live music event. This is done by redistributing energy from areas where the sound is too loud to areas where more SPL is needed. Array Processing also provides seamless compensation of air absorption at high frequencies. Array Processing uses a general target frequency response for all arrays in the project, meaning that different arrays for example, main hang and out fill will generate the same spectral result at the listener, despite having different length, splay settings or even speaker type.
Array Processing adapts and evens out the vertical directivity, which can result in a more consistent direct to the fuse sound ratio and enhance intelligibility especially in reverberant spaces. Array Processing improves the d&b line array system performance significantly, and is the next level of democracy for listeners. On Tour Events is a d&b Audiotechnik stockist based in the heart of London, if your looking to hire a sound company for your event / need to hire a large format line array for your live music festival then please visit our sound equipment section of the website where your find details on what sound equipment we stock, the work we undertake.
On Tour Events isn't just an PA hire company tho we offer a vast range of event services from event lighting equipment to live streaming services and of course we offering LED video screens packages & staging solutions for any event but what sets us apart is the 25 years experience we have working in the events industry! On Tour Events has a proven track record for delivering exceptional live sound at events alongside our other technical event production services.
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