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Hifi sound quality with PA SPL

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stoneeh View Drop Down
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    Posted: 09 August 2016 at 4:59am
Hi guys.
 
I just typed what felt like a 1000 words, but realized that I would never get the results I wanted from such a post.
So I'll keep it simple: I've heard everything there is to hear in the PA world, and I just do not like the way PA speakers sound. In terms of resolution, clarity, stability, and also just plain charm/beauty of the experience, the very best PA systems are just able to come to par with an average Hifi speaker system (for example some Hecos for 1000€ a pair).
Only in the sub-bass area have I found products that meet my standards, but from about 100hz up, nothing.
 
I have not found a single compression driver I liked, so I think the only options are dome or ribbon tweeters in line source configuration.
 
Something like this:
 
http://www.piega.ch/de/produkte/master/master-line-source - http://www.piega.ch/de/produkte/master/master-line-source
 
Or this:
 
http://www.whathifi.com/features/bw--system-144-drivers-120k-watts-eu1-million - http://www.whathifi.com/features/bw-sound-system-144-drivers-120k-watts-eu1-million
 
 
I don't think I've missed commercially available products with a configuration like this. Are there any other than Alcons? I've heard those - their ribbons can not keep up with Hifi ribbons, and the mids and low mids of the QR line are disappointing.
 
Has anyone tried a DIY project along those lines? Or is interested in one?
We currently have a solution with two stereo groundstacks with each a 18Sound 18NLW9600 reflex subwoofer on the bottom, and three high-sensitivity 15 inch Hifi speakers on top, playing from 80 hz up, in a more or less line source configuration. It sounds reasonably well, and works very well for the 100-200 people we do at our events - could do more.
I'm thinking about 12" Hifi or PA kickfillers to play from 80 to 250hz, 8 or 6" Hifi midrange drivers to play from 250 to around 2-4khz, and a couple of ribbons to do the rest.
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dylan-penguinmedia View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dylan-penguinmedia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2016 at 8:32am
Traction Sound use vertical arrays of soft domes instead of compression drivers.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toastyghost Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2016 at 10:40am
At the level many PAs want to play at, ribbons struggle with the output level. It's pretty much that simple, there are a few other than Alcons working on them and the tech is moving but it seems to be going quite slowly and you'll notice most of their work is in jazz or theatre where raw SPL is less important.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Elliot Thompson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2016 at 1:17pm

The majority of large systems focus on Rock where volume overrides sound quality. There is also a type of tone that emits through certain designs that compliment type of music being dispersed to the audience. A jagged frequency response may be more suited under those conditions as it leaves a better impression to the user/audience than, one that falls within the High Fidelity realm.  

 

One must know the music he/she is focusing on, look at the history of the sound systems he/she heard the music on and, ask them selves if, the sound system fell under public address characteristics or, high fidelity characteristics. Sometimes a sharp, brittle tone is exactly what the user/audience wants without admitting it to him or her self.

 

Best Regards,

Elliot Thompson
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jbl_man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2016 at 1:39pm
If you can find them,the Old Tannoy 12" and 15" HPD dual concentrics do sound lovely,there were fitted into hifi cabinets in early 80's,the Arden and Berkely,and do have a fair level of output. Have allways wanted to try a 4x15 column of those drivers. Unfortuantly funds never allowed such a project.
Be seeing you.
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stoneeh View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stoneeh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2016 at 4:10pm
Thx for the input.
 
dylan: I did not know that Traction Sound system. The SPS 612 seemed interesting at first, but they use that whole armada of dome speakers to complement one 6" MF and one 12" LF driver. Seems like a very HF centric system - not something I'm looking for. If the speaker featured like each four 6" and 12" drivers, that might have just been the thing for me.
 
toastyghost: The Alcons QR36 I've heard are installed in clubs, and the output in the highs is really enough. I think I've seen measurements of them hitting upwards of 130db - might be mistaken. For some reason though, they lack the fine resolution and charming sound of the Hifi ribbons (from Quadral, Infinity, etc) that I know. Probably bigger ribbons -> greater mass/inertia -> less potential for fine resolution.
Anyway, I do not see why manufacturers believe high frequency output has to be that high. Human hearing is very sensitive to high frequencies. Bass needs to be somewhere between 10-30db louder than HF to be perceived by us to be equally loud - for a system that puts out 130db bass, we would probably just need a HF system capable of hitting around 110db.
 
jbl_man: I bet a lot of old Hifi speakers would work well in columns. One problem might be interference, but I guess that could be minimal, with the point source principle of the Tannoy. Would just have to be tried, I guess. That's what we did - before we tried, we had absolutely no idea if it would work ;)
What we've noticed with our stack is you can't just multiply it to infinity to reach the desired output. At some point, the bass drivers couple too much, and the frequency response gets too bass heavy. So you'd have to use EQ to correct this, which for me kinda defeats the purpose. That's why we're possibly looking to build our own system, with modular bass and mid/high units, where we could modify the proportions according to the size of the system.


Edited by stoneeh - 09 August 2016 at 4:11pm
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toastyghost View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote toastyghost Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2016 at 4:28pm
Actually that's a little misconception, as the phon level increases our perception actually flattens off more. It depends on the system design goals, most often HF level is higher because it needs to counter air absorption and maintain coverage
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote boots-hifi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2016 at 5:21pm
F1 Res9+218's engineered properly sounds like a massive hifi belive me.
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stoneeh View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote stoneeh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2016 at 5:47pm
toasty: yep, that's what the ISO standard says. I guess it's hard to disagree with ;) . For me, I've never heard a single PA system that imo lacked highs. Mostly the opposite. Might be just personal preference, but then again, I've heard multiple speakers that measure absolutely flat (for example Neumann KH310 and Lamda Labs TX3A), and those sound just about right to me. So my perception seems to be unbiased.
 
boots: I've heard F118s with Res4. Same 8" mids, same 1" highs as the Res 9. Mids and highs were disappointing, considering the 3 way design. Also bloated bass & lacking lowmids.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote cooky1257 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2016 at 6:02pm
Depends how high your hifi expectation/experience is. 
The Tannoy DC's have comp drivers. The JBL 2435 3" Beryllium dia comps are very smooth and detailed-They tip up in JBL K2 9800's hifi speakers as well as Vertecs, They spank the Tannoy's HF imho and any of the JBL 4" 24** family sound glorious with Truextent Be dias too-I'd be loath to risk £500 a piece dias in PA work though.


Edited by cooky1257 - 09 August 2016 at 6:04pm
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_djk_ View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote _djk_ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2016 at 12:25am
The 2" throat Community M200 midrange driver does not sound like a typical compression driver, and it used in the Avantgarde Trio home hi-fi  loudspeaker from 600hz~4Khz.



The Community VHF100 is a better sounding tweeter than the Beyma CPM380 that Avantgarde used, but over twice the cost (use the Beyma for PA, or the very similar B&C DE250).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote _djk_ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 August 2016 at 12:32am
" The JBL 2435 3" Beryllium dia comps are very smooth and detailed"

They sound incredible on the 2384 theater horn, but the replacement diaphragms are very, very expensive.

The 2431 is the same driver with an aluminum diaphragm, the 2432 is the titanium version.

I own a half dozen of each, use the Be for hi-fi, and the Ti and Al for PA.

With a well protected set-up, I will be trying a pair of 2435 for PA. I have never burnt an HF driver in a PA, I know how to  use protection caps, lightbulb devices, etc.
djk
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