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Line Array technology applied to cinema audio

20 August, 2015 Categories: Products

Line Array technology applied to cinema audio

So, yes, maybe we did push the limits of our industry standards by introducing Line Array technology in the cinema audio market. But we like to think that in a few years we will have established a new standard by switching from traditional equipment to next generation Line Array technology.

But what does exactly Line Array mean?

Before digging deeper, you can read the Wikipedia definition here. Now lets get into further detail, below.

 

The cylindrical wave

Perhaps if you are fan of live music, you have noticed those vertical speakers clusters located to the right and left of the stage.

These clusters make use of the Line Array technology, which is basically an attempt to eliminate cancellations that inevitably occur between the different transducers that configure a sound equipment. The ultimate goal is to achieve this by making a full sound equipment work as a single speaker.

Having said this, the Line Array concept is based on the study of the directivity and the achievement of the "cylindrical wave", which has the ability to reach all spectators with the same quality and volume, regardless of where they are seated.

In a Line Array system, the bass frequencies help each other thanks to the very small distance between them, among other things. Therefore, the more woofers we install more lower frequencies will be the system deliver. On the other hand, the high frequencies behaviour is different: each one will cover only the area that corresponds if installed together with an isophasic horn.

The isophasic horn concept is essential, and will help identify false Line Array systems. It is basically a horn that makes sure all the waves leaving the high freq. driver will reach the mouth of the horn at the same time.

Hence the configuration of our 8000 Series Line Array systems, built with many small bass drivers and many small isophasic horn.

And so, we get all the spectators of a movie theater listening to the exact same sound at the exact same volume. Because the directivity of these speakers is perfectly controlled to achieve the cylindrical wave, with half the distance lost of dB than those found in traditional equipments, thus enhancing extraordinarily the channels separation effect in a movie theater.

Also, why do we use compression drivers instead of "ribbon driver" units? Because compression drivers support a much higher power and therefore do not require weekly attention by our cinema technician's (something which normally requires removing the screen and putting it up again later).

 

The timbre

A piano and a trumpet produce the same "C" note but we hear different sounds because each instrument has a different timbre.

Multichannel audio industry standards require all components of the sound system -screen speakers, subwoofers, surrounds and of course the amplifiers- to be top quality and to have the same timbre. Because of this, our 8000 Series Line Array Systems are manufactured using with the same components for screen and surround speakers. Thus, a sound coming out of the screen, goes through the first side surround -also called "Front Most" or "Proscenius"- and continues to the other side surrounds or ceiling speakers sounding exactly the same. Always.

This manufacturing feature enables our 8000 Series Line Array System to be MODULAR: each cinema requires its own system configuration, so the installer will combine the different elements to optimize the result.

Every unit include a different number of a standard 225 W module consisting of a low/medium 6" speaker and a 1" compression engine with the mentioned isophasic horn. Depending on the number of these modules being used in the equipment, it will be small, medium or large, but will always have the same timbre.

For example: one of the possible combinations of this system includes 2 Line Array units operating separately with different amplifiers, working ideally on poor acoustics venues, really big cinemas with over 1,000 seats or complex configuration theatres.

A final note for the desperate with the poor acoustics of their cinemas: our 8000 Series system has solved many of these problems with its controlled directivity. The sadly common "sorry, what did the girl say?" is history, now dialogs are fully understood!

DMC Firewall is developed by Dean Marshall Consultancy Ltd