set of powerful speakers with blurred background Part of any good DJ service in the GTA is knowing how to make sound work within a given venue. The size and shape of a room affects how sound is distributed, and speakers need to be chosen and arranged differently from one location to the next. Part of this task involves deciding which of two common types of speakers will be used: line array or regular ("point source"). The answer relies on understanding the differences between the two types and where each excels and falters.

What is a Line Array Speaker?

A line array is when a number of speakers are combined and stacked in a vertical line, which is where the name comes from. The array is designed so that when the speakers are active, the sound waves from each speaker interfere with each other in such a way that allows the sound to be better projected and directed. This gives line array speakers an impressive amount of control as far as sound direction goes, which makes them very useful when dealing with certain spaces. Line array speakers are commonly used in spaces that are highly reverberant or where sounds need to be directed to a specific area where the audience sits. If you ever attend a concert, look around the ceiling and try to spot any hanging line arrays that project sound into the audience clearly and crisply. Incidentally, horizontal line arrays also have uses, but these are primarily reserved for subwoofer applications—useful, but not as generally applicable.

What Is a Regular Speaker?

A regular speaker, also called a point source speaker, is a single speaker (or several placed away from each other) that projects sound in a spherical pattern. In other words, it is what most people think of when they imagine a speaker. This circular pattern results in less range overall than the more directed sounds line arrays can produce. However, within this range is a stronger scope of coverage that can be extremely useful with smaller or more dispersed audiences.

Line Array vs. Regular Speakers

Both line array and conventional speakers have their own strengths and weaknesses, so the one you use is going to depend on the circumstances of your event. Here are some things to keep in mind when comparing the two:
  • Pay attention to the frequency you need to transmit through the speakers. Line arrays tend to suffer when working with higher frequencies and are more suited to mid-range to low ones instead.
  • Line arrays are more suited to larger or longer venues since they are able to produce more consistent sound over distance. Point source speakers may require a separate setup featuring delay feeds in order to maintain consistency over a large room.
  • Due to how directed they are, line arrays tend to have performance problems if the audience is either clustered around the stage or is spread out vertically or horizontally, which isn't a problem for the radial point source speaker.
  • Point source systems are more reliant on the shape of the room and won't be able to project as well if the ceiling is too low in relation to the venue’s depth.
  • Line arrays work best when they can be suspended from the ceiling.

Contact Our DJ Services in the GTA to Get the True Winner

Although the best choice between line array and conventional speakers will change depending on the event, there is normally a clear winner if you are evaluating them for a single occasion. Our expert DJ services know what makes sound truly resonate and fill a room, and they can work with you to choose the best speaker and design an arrangement that suits your needs. bb Blanc is a full-service live event company based in Toronto. We pride ourselves on "creating event magic" through the use of the latest technology for audiovisual display and support. For more information on bb Blanc and the unique additions we can bring to your gatherings and special occasions, feel free to contact us at 416-360-0440 or at info@bbblanc.com.