Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

I would like your help in understanding the concept of “throw” when it comes to speakers. I have heard this term thrown around (no pun intended) so much that I would like to know more about it please. What is it? How is it defined? Why does brand X have better “throw” than brand Y? Is it frequency related? What things can one do to help with “throw”? What things (that may be out of our control) will effect “throw” and what can we do to help minimize the effect? I welcome all responses and feel free to go in-depth if you wish if you feel it will answer the question properly. Thank you!
 

Glenn Adams

Junior
Feb 3, 2014
385
4
18
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

I would like your help in understanding the concept of “throw” when it comes to speakers. I have heard this term thrown around (no pun intended) so much that I would like to know more about it please. What is it? How is it defined? Why does brand X have better “throw” than brand Y? Is it frequency related? What things can one do to help with “throw”? What things (that may be out of our control) will effect “throw” and what can we do to help minimize the effect? I welcome all responses and feel free to go in-depth if you wish if you feel it will answer the question properly. Thank you!
From my understanding over the years of audio this was a term that defined horn loaded systems. The narrower the horn the more throw it had, or the ability to get loud further away. The wider the horn pattern the more spread was its energy, thus less throw. Punch was another term used to go deep. Front loaded systems were not know for going deep until you made a column out of them. The longer the column the more throw it had.
 

Jay Barracato

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
1,528
2
38
Solomons MD
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

I would say forget you ever heard it.

It is a meaningless term in light of the physics that control the motion of sound waves. The wave is formed when a vibration does work (transfer energy to) the medium (air) in which the wave travels. Once the wave is formed it follows the same rules regardless of the source. That acoustic source may not be where you thought it was, depending on the speaker setup (i.e. horn vs front loaded vs vertical array etc.) but once the wave is in motion, that motion is well defined.
 

Chuck Simon

Junior
Jan 19, 2011
332
1
0
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

What Jay said! The distance a sound can travel is dictated by the laws of physics, not the shape of the horn(or the speaker's marketing department) A "narrower" horn pattern will provide a louder volume at distance because it is louder at it's source.
 

Ivan Beaver

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
2,300
10
0
Atlanta GA area
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

You cannot "throw sound"


It simply propagates through the air.

All speakers "throw" the same distance.

The term has several different parts that make it "appear" to "throw" further.

FIrst- a long throw" speaker is typically louder than a "short throw" speaker. But run them at the same starting SPL and they will end up at the same SPL.

The other thing is the pattern. A "long throw" speaker generally has a narrower pattern. So the ratio of on axis SPL to a certain degree of off axis is greater-so you have energy bouncing off of "things", so the sound can be clearer (due to less reflections).

HOWEVER-how well a particular speaker "holds up" over distance is quite a different story. A speaker that starts out a single coherent source will "hold up" at a longer distance than one that starts out with various amounts of interference. So the more coherent speaker will sound louder and clearer at a far distance.
 
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

In general, "throw" is roughly analagous to directivity (with higher directivity implying higher output). As far as I can tell, this comes from the use of directional sources in a reverberant space, where the tighter patterns are able to excite the reverberant field less and get intelligible sound further into the space (extending the region of coverage that gets primarily direct sound). Thus, more directional loudspeakers are considered to "throw" sound further into the room.
 

Glenn Adams

Junior
Feb 3, 2014
385
4
18
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

And then there is yet another mention of "throw" into the mix.
http://blog.svconline.com/briefingroom/2014/01/06/danley-jericho-horns-throw-600-feet-at-boise-state-university/

What say you Ivan???? Danley doesn't use the term but isn't that what we see in the youtubs? How Danleys unity horns sound at great distances? Hum?

The best advice given in this thread was " forget you ever heard the term" I agree, but not only for technical reasons.

Everytime you hear the word "throw" replace it with "direct" or "deliver", but some will say it is the truck hauling the speakers that delivers the sound.
 
Last edited:

Ivan Beaver

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
2,300
10
0
Atlanta GA area
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

And then there is yet another mention of "throw" into the mix.
http://blog.svconline.com/briefingroom/2014/01/06/danley-jericho-horns-throw-600-feet-at-boise-state-university/

What say you Ivan???? Danley doesn't use the term but isn't that what we see in the youtubs? How Danleys unity horns sound at great distances? Hum?

The best advice given in this thread was " forget you ever heard the term" I agree, but not only for technical reasons.

Everytime you hear the word "throw" replace it with "direct" or "deliver", but some will say it is the truck hauling the speakers that delivers the sound.
The guy in the article does not work for Danley. So that is not a "Danley quote".

WE don't say the sound is being "thrown" Or if it might show up-it is in a context of "terminology".

What we do show in the videos (I really wish other manufacturers would post videos/recording of their systems at hundreds of feet away and with the wind blowing :) ) is how good the sound is and "holds together" at long distances and in adverse conditions. I know the reason they don't show them ;)

How well the sound holds together over distance is what people think of "throw", but that is a statement of clarity.

And that is what Danley is known for-the sound "holding together" and sounding the same over distance. As one guest said today-as he walked away from the speakers "It sound the same as you walk away-just a bit quieter at a distance".

If people want to "think" of it as "throw", the so be it-but the term is completely wrong.

You can throw a baseball-but not sound. Sound simply propagates through the air. BUT what happens as it propagates through the air-how it changes, cancels etc DOES vary quite a bit with different loudspeaker systems.
 

Glenn Adams

Junior
Feb 3, 2014
385
4
18
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

I totally agree. I have never heard any other system "hold together" like Tom's stuff, and a few same sized driver single box line arrays. No J.

I don't care if "throw" gets used. So long as it is not used for comparison in ads.

And BTW - I never said it was a quote, in fact I said "Danley doesn't use the term" ; I may not work there but I have read everything posted and published.
 

Art Welter

Senior
Jan 11, 2011
815
13
18
Florida
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

I would like your help in understanding the concept of “throw” when it comes to speakers.
1)What is it?
2)How is it defined?
3)Why does brand X have better “throw” than brand Y?
4) Is it frequency related?
5)What things can one do to help with “throw”?
6)What things (that may be out of our control) will effect “throw” and what can we do to help minimize the effect?
1) As explained, an out of date term.
2) A 90 degree or wider horn was considered "short throw" 60 degree or more narrow was considered "long throw". If you compare two horns of the same "family" the SPL on axis of a 60 x 45 will be 3 dB more sensitive (louder) than a 90 x 45.
3) Narrower or more coherent wave propagation and higher initial SPL help at distance.
4) High frequency air absorption reduces all types of devices output at distance.
5) The use of parabolic or hyperbolic devices can cut the usual 6 dB per doubling of distance to 3 dB per doubling of distance, which can cut the amount of drivers and power needed for a given SPL at a long distance by a huge margin.
http://soundforums.net/varsity/7268-hyperboline-%99-new-player-old-game.html
6) HF air absorption is worst at hot temperatures with dry air, so keeping an environment cool and relatively humid can be a huge improvement. Wind and temperature gradients make sound propagation difficult, so windbreaks and shade covers can be helpful outdoors.
 

Bob Lee

Freshman
Jun 17, 2013
33
0
0
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

A few times people have called me to ask about the "throw" of certain QSC loudspeakers.

I ask them what their definition of "throw" is. Usually it's something like, "how far out from the speaker before the sound falls off." Well, OK, let's start there.

I explain that the sound drops off right away; it doesn't just go out a certain distance and suddenly go away. I describe the Inverse Square Law and how it works, and how making sound louder at a distance involves making it louder up close as well. And how controlling directivity can concentrate a given amount of acoustical energy into a narrower angle can give more SPL, and the distance at which the sound level becomes equal with ambient noise could therefore be greater.

A couple of guys outright rejected this notion, usually with a retort like, "I've been doing this stuff for 30 years and know damn well that speakers throw sound! And you're telling me yours drop off right away, huh? Well, I guess that means the throw is zero, huh? I guess I'd better just go buy {insert brand here}!" Oh well.
 

Glenn Adams

Junior
Feb 3, 2014
385
4
18
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

A few times people have called me to ask about the "throw" of certain QSC loudspeakers.

I ask them what their definition of "throw" is. Usually it's something like, "how far out from the speaker before the sound falls off." Well, OK, let's start there.

I explain that the sound drops off right away; it doesn't just go out a certain distance and suddenly go away. I describe the Inverse Square Law and how it works, and how making sound louder at a distance involves making it louder up close as well. And how controlling directivity can concentrate a given amount of acoustical energy into a narrower angle can give more SPL, and the distance at which the sound level becomes equal with ambient noise could therefore be greater.

A couple of guys outright rejected this notion, usually with a retort like, "I've been doing this stuff for 30 years and know damn well that speakers throw sound! And you're telling me yours drop off right away, huh? Well, I guess that means the throw is zero, huh? I guess I'd better just go buy {insert brand here}!" Oh well.

Did you also tell them about wind effects on sound? And how wind could blow your throw?

I did sound at one place, ( no longer in use ) where when the wind blew it was almost always toward the stage. Ugly for the "Monitor Man". Another place 15 miles away you could hear on a windy night like it was in my back yard.

If they want to violate the Inverse Square Law a bit and get more throw tell them to buy some big fans and put them next to their speakers.
 

Ivan Beaver

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
2,300
10
0
Atlanta GA area
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

.

I ask them what their definition of "throw" is. Usually it's something like, "how far out from the speaker before the sound falls off." Well, OK, let's start there.

.
I would then ask them to define "drop off". How many dB is that?

And dB relative to what other position?

THAT is where the term "throw comes into play.

If you are up close and out of the pattern-then you can go quite a distance away and keep the same relative SPL.

But if you are in the pattern up close-then the level will be quite a bit lower at that far distance.

As usual-it depends on where you start as to where you end up--------------
 
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

1) As explained, an out of date term.
2) A 90 degree or wider horn was considered "short throw" 60 degree or more narrow was considered "long throw". If you compare two horns of the same "family" the SPL on axis of a 60 x 45 will be 3 dB more sensitive (louder) than a 90 x 45.
3) Narrower or more coherent wave propagation and higher initial SPL help at distance.
4) High frequency air absorption reduces all types of devices output at distance.
5) The use of parabolic or hyperbolic devices can cut the usual 6 dB per doubling of distance to 3 dB per doubling of distance, which can cut the amount of drivers and power needed for a given SPL at a long distance by a huge margin.
http://soundforums.net/varsity/7268-hyperboline-%99-new-player-old-game.html
6) HF air absorption is worst at hot temperatures with dry air, so keeping an environment cool and relatively humid can be a huge improvement. Wind and temperature gradients make sound propagation difficult, so windbreaks and shade covers can be helpful outdoors.
It's also important to remember that the inverse-square law only applies to sources that can be modeled as a point source. This typically means that one is quite far from the source, especially if the source is large. The transtition between "near field" where the inverse-square law does not apply, and "far field" behavior is dependant on source size and frequency, among other factors.
 
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

This is excellent! Thank you all for your input. It was very enlightening!! I'm kinda relating this to the water hose I played with as a kid (you know, the one with the adjustable nozzle). When I turned the hose on full blast (similar to max SPL), but yet twisted the nozzle to have a wider water pattern (90 x 45 and up), the water didn't travel too far, but had good coverage. Now, if I twisted the nozzle the other way (narrow column) that water was able to travel a lot further and this was the best I could do given the water service my parents had. Now, all this went to crap when the wind picked up!! I know this may not be the best analogy, but I think it gets the point across if any of my peers would ever ask me what the term meant.

Thanks again everyone!!
 

Glenn Adams

Junior
Feb 3, 2014
385
4
18
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

This is excellent! Thank you all for your input. It was very enlightening!! I'm kinda relating this to the water hose I played with as a kid (you know, the one with the adjustable nozzle). When I turned the hose on full blast (similar to max SPL), but yet twisted the nozzle to have a wider water pattern (90 x 45 and up), the water didn't travel too far, but had good coverage. Now, if I twisted the nozzle the other way (narrow column) that water was able to travel a lot further and this was the best I could do given the water service my parents had. Now, all this went to crap when the wind picked up!! I know this may not be the best analogy, but I think it gets the point across if any of my peers would ever ask me what the term meant.

Thanks again everyone!!
I think it is a good way to put it. Gravity has no real effect on sound waves but the coverage, distance and wind react similarly .
 

Ivan Beaver

Graduate Student
Jan 11, 2011
2,300
10
0
Atlanta GA area
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

This is excellent! Thank you all for your input. It was very enlightening!! I'm kinda relating this to the water hose I played with as a kid (you know, the one with the adjustable nozzle). When I turned the hose on full blast (similar to max SPL), but yet twisted the nozzle to have a wider water pattern (90 x 45 and up), the water didn't travel too far, but had good coverage. Now, if I twisted the nozzle the other way (narrow column) that water was able to travel a lot further and this was the best I could do given the water service my parents had. Now, all this went to crap when the wind picked up!! I know this may not be the best analogy, but I think it gets the point across if any of my peers would ever ask me what the term meant.

Thanks again everyone!!
That is a good description with the given pressure available.

However if you had more pressure so that in the wide pattern a different hose had the same pressure as the house hose, it would go as far as the house hose.

So basically if the sound starts out with the same SPL-it will end up at a distance at the same SPL.
 

Peter Morris

Senior
May 8, 2011
987
89
28
Australia
Re: Help me understand the concept of speaker “throw” please.

A few times people have called me to ask about the "throw" of certain QSC loudspeakers.

I ask them what their definition of "throw" is. Usually it's something like, "how far out from the speaker before the sound falls off." Well, OK, let's start there.

I explain that the sound drops off right away; it doesn't just go out a certain distance and suddenly go away. I describe the Inverse Square Law and how it works, and how making sound louder at a distance involves making it louder up close as well. And how controlling directivity can concentrate a given amount of acoustical energy into a narrower angle can give more SPL, and the distance at which the sound level becomes equal with ambient noise could therefore be greater.

A couple of guys outright rejected this notion, usually with a retort like, "I've been doing this stuff for 30 years and know damn well that speakers throw sound! And you're telling me yours drop off right away, huh? Well, I guess that means the throw is zero, huh? I guess I'd better just go buy {insert brand here}!" Oh well.

My 2c worth ...

Throw is the subjective ability of a speaker system to project quality articulate sound over distance.
The further it does this the more throw it has. The system does not have to be loud to have throw, nor does it have to have any particular polar pattern.