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Essay on Digital Steerable Line Array

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Loudspeakers and Line Arrays play a vital role in live sound reinforcement. The main goal of line arrays is to evenly distribute the full range of frequencies and ‘loudness’ of the performance to the audience, no matter where the people are standing. Stage hands and audio technicians work together before a live performance in order to achieve the optimum sound quality for the audience’s satisfaction during their experience of the live event. Typically, traditional line arrays are set up by technicians on ground level. With the help of motorized hoists, the speakers are hanged or “flown” to be rigged at a specific height and achieve its J shaped curve- provided that the stage or venue is able to properly accommodate the speakers’ weight…show more content…
Furthermore, each high frequency driver consists of several movable components in order to optimize the “aim” of high frequencies. While ICONYX is supposedly one of, if not the first of its kind, Renkus-Heinz is not the only company to develop digitally steerable speakers. Martin Audio’s version of digitally controlled line arrays is called the “Multi-Cellular Loudspeaker Array” or MLA. Aesthetically, the MLA is more like the line arrays flown on big concerts and stadiums most people are familiar with. Simply put, by using the provided software, the specifications of venues or audience space is detected and analyzed by the array itself. Additionally, each of the 72 to 144 “cells” or parts of the line array is capable of having its own phase, level, and EQ individually and independently set. All of this is controlled electronically, by further use of digital signal processing. Due to the sheer amount of moving components, the MLA has the ability to constantly change its directionality and arrangement in order to adjust the loudspeakers’ coverage, or accommodate to weather changes, or rigging height modifications; in real time. Unfortunately, further in-depth scientific data and proof presented by Martin Audio is far beyond my understanding of physics and acoustics, so I will not attempt to rehash the information and instead cite the source. Suffice to say, MLA uses
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