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Multiple small speakers vs. minimum large speakers

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  • Multiple small speakers vs. minimum large speakers

    Hello Forum,

    My first post...

    I'm looking for some experienced opinions on a sound system I need to provide to a large outdoor audience in the near future. I've attached a PDF to this post if you care to have a look. Note the scissor lift in the first photo, which is where the speakers were placed at this event in past years.

    I've been providing sound systems to smaller events for a few years and have always managed fine with Yorkville's line...PSA1s, PS15s NX750P etc. I don't require a lot of bass so rarely include subs. I haven't worked an event with an audience or "venue" of this size before. This location is well know for sucking up a lot of sound.

    From a budget perspective it would be best for me to rent multiple Yorkville speakers to pair with what I own. As an example, I could run ten PSA1s as well as four NX750ps. For a much larger budget I could run four Meyer MSL4s or something similar, which came as a recommendation from a company more experienced with larger audiences.

    What I'm wondering is, can smaller speakers like the PSA1s perform well over long throw distances (>250 ft) when the quantity is increased, or are they only suited for shorter throw distances (<200 ft) regardless of the quantity.

    Thank-you in advance for any responses.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Either approach can work well, but if you are using multiple smaller speakers, you will need to distribute them throughout the venue (to get them closer to the audience). You do not want to attempt to build a large array of smaller speakers, however.


    • #3
      Expanding on what Rob said, sound is all about compromises.

      In audio, the ideal is a single point source of the audio. This would get you the clearest sound. However, if you use a single point source, in order to have the volume the same throughout the venue, it would have to be positioned in a way that it was equidistant from all of the spectators. Sometimes, this means moving the speaker further away, or higher up so that the relative change in distance between the closest and furthest is about the same. The potential downside of doing this is the delay in moving the source further away. Additionally, if you are moving the speaker away, you need to have more volume at the source to get the full volume that you need at the audience.

      The other option that you have would be distributing the speakers around so that there is a speaker closer to each area of the audience that needs coverage. The downside of this is the additional labor and cabling, but done correctly can have very desirable results. When distributing the speakers, attention needs to be taken on how each speaker is going to interact with each other. If 2 speakers are covering the same audience area, making sure that they are delayed appropriately will be very important. Where the volume of the 2 source speakers is the same, there will be some comb filtering, resulting in inconsistent sound, but for an area as large as this, it probably won't be enough of an issue to worry about.

      The last thing you want to do is simply pile more speakers together to try and achieve more output. While it may get a bit louder, the interference from closely placed speakers that were not designed specifically to be arrayed tends to cause a major mess in the intelligibility of the sound. Not something that you want to have happen!


      • #4
        What i am afraid if you go with smaller speaker, the problem is located on the positioning. Like everyone said, you really need to place it in nearly distance of the crowded since the power is not great.


        • #5
          I have to agree with the advice above. Tough room for sure.
          First I would investigate what was used in the past and how did it do.
          One large high output from a central location on the lift would work, but factor in wind and the distance you have to cover would put you into very long throw stuff like Community or Danley stadium horn loaded systems.

          Lots of small cabinets from that location would be harder to achieve the coverage plus throw needed and again, wind can cause massive effects to the pattern.

          I hate this approach but in this case it does work for some events. Speakers on sticks all around the fence pointing at the crowd. Forget trying to delay it unless you have 10 delay outputs, one for each zone. If so workout the distance from the stage to each zone and try to cut down on the overlap of coverage between zones. The brain can work out a direct source even if it is in a multiphase mess.

          Good luck


          • #6
            What is the program material?


            • #7
              Appreciate the responses, thank-you.

              The system is for event announcers and background music.


              • #8
                Does anyone have experience running Meyer MSL4s? I'm considering renting three of them for this event to combine with some smaller speakers from one location.


                • #9
                  Meyer MSL-4 is my all-time favorite Meyer box.
                  Combine it with 650P or DS-4+650P, and you have a killer system.
                  Sales&support at


                  • #10
                    I use Yorkville speakers in my systems.
                    In looking at your picture I would first find out how much weight the scissor platform can safely hold.
                    Once that is determined you will need to get your cabs up as high (and as safely) as possible.
                    (Too low and you'll be too loud for those up close.)
                    Since you like to use Yorkville (as I do) and if the background music isn't too bass heavy, a couple of TX8's up high would fit the bill nicely.
                    If it were me, I would try TX4's (or e152's bi-amped) and get them as high as possible.
                    a word of advise: clarity/coverage of announcements trumps background music every time.


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