Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: How much better are P.A. systems today?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Akira's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    327

    How much better are P.A. systems today?

    I retired from the industry just before line arrays became the defacto standard. While I have never worked on one, I have heard many in great sounding rooms and outdoor concerts with some of the best artists and music that should have a high degree of fidelity-- Genesis, Tina Turner, James Taylor, Dixie Chicks, etc.

    I have to say that I have never been impressed with the sound I have heard. In some cases with bands like Genesis which I have seen many times throughout the ages, I have to say they sounded way better on some of the older systems in the exact same venue.

  2. #2
    Senior Member edgewound's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    2,672
    Quote Originally Posted by Akira View Post
    I retired from the industry just before line arrays became the defacto standard. While I have never worked on one, I have heard many in great sounding rooms and outdoor concerts with some of the best artists and music that should have a high degree of fidelity-- Genesis, Tina Turner, James Taylor, Dixie Chicks, etc.

    I have to say that I have never been impressed with the sound I have heard. In some cases with bands like Genesis which I have seen many times throughout the ages, I have to say they sounded way better on some of the older systems in the exact same venue.
    I have to agree with you.

    I'd like to think it has more to do with who's running the mixing board than the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of high end line array, amps, processors, boards, etc.

    I haven't heard a well mixed concert in a very long time. It's usually too loud, too compressed, too much subwoofer, not enough music.
    Edgewound...JBL Pro Authorized...since 1988
    Upland Loudspeaker Service, Upland, CA

  3. #3
    Senior Member Eaulive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Back in Montreal
    Posts
    1,204
    line arrays... Loud, tooooo loud.
    However I guess with a good engineer it could be enjoyable.
    My avatar: 4520 loaded with 2225H on E140 frames,
    1x B&C 12PE32 on custom front loaded horn, 2x 2426 on 2370.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Akira's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    327

    This is gonna sound crazy but...

    The best sound I ever heard was ELP 'Brain Salad Surgery' tour 1974!
    It was a proprietary JBL system top to bottom including 3 consoles (with 3 mixers) all processing and a matched true quad system using-- Get this: (4) 4550 (8) 4560 (8) 2482 and (16) 1" in each of the four corners of the old Maple Leaf Gardens hockey arena. They actually removed seats from each corner to have a physically alinged system and that is the key. Sound is physics.
    When Greg Lake sang with his super resonant voice, he sounded like a God. The image was the size of the entire stadium and it sounded like you were right inside his throat.

    That was 37 years ago, so what's the excuse today? I don't buy the 'It's the engineers fault'. These big bands have the top people in the industry.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Eaulive's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Back in Montreal
    Posts
    1,204
    Quote Originally Posted by Akira View Post
    The best sound I ever heard was ELP 'Brain Salad Surgery' tour 1974!
    It was a proprietary JBL system top to bottom including 3 consoles (with 3 mixers) all processing and a matched true quad system using-- Get this: (4) 4550 (8) 4560 (8) 2482 and (16) 1" in each of the four corners of the old Maple Leaf Gardens hockey arena. They actually removed seats from each corner to have a physically alinged system and that is the key. Sound is physics.
    But this probably didn't get you 115dB at the seating position like the big rigs of today.
    Not that I complain, 105 dB is loud enough for me at a concert.
    My avatar: 4520 loaded with 2225H on E140 frames,
    1x B&C 12PE32 on custom front loaded horn, 2x 2426 on 2370.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles, Calif USA
    Posts
    183
    Most of this stuff reminds me of the DJ sound at the local discos. I don't what it is but it sure doesn't sound right to my ears, but it is very loud. Maybe it is just my aging ears.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Amnes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Warsaw, Poland
    Posts
    219
    All I know about PA systems today is when Chicago's best techno Dj RUSH plays a gig here beer cans fly off club subs with great velocity and no apparent direction when the beat is dropped. I have heard very good PA sound systems at open air gigs as well as very bad ones. There is a bunch of variables in the equasion and the base of bad sound is human error. Operators either don't care or don't have sufficient knowledge to make good sound out of their equipment.

  8. #8
    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Rocinante
    Posts
    7,984
    The best sound I ever heard was ELP 'Brain Salad Surgery' tour 1974!
    Funny I saw that tour as well in the Nassau Coliseum. Same deal they took out seats for a true quad set-up. One of the things I remember most was being in the mens room when the were playing the begining of Fanfare for the Ordinary Man. When Emerson hit the bass petals the concrete walls where shaking. The mids were nice and highs were crisp and clean. I am not sure if it was the best I ever heard but it sure was good!

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

  9. #9
    Senior Member DavidF's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    San Jose CA
    Posts
    918
    Quote Originally Posted by Akira View Post
    The best sound I ever heard was ELP 'Brain Salad Surgery' tour 1974!
    It was a proprietary JBL system top to bottom including 3 consoles (with 3 mixers) all processing and a matched true quad system using-- Get this: (4) 4550 (8) 4560 (8) 2482 and (16) 1" in each of the four corners of the old Maple Leaf Gardens hockey arena. They actually removed seats from each corner to have a physically alinged system and that is the key. Sound is physics.
    When Greg Lake sang with his super resonant voice, he sounded like a God. The image was the size of the entire stadium and it sounded like you were right inside his throat.

    That was 37 years ago, so what's the excuse today? I don't buy the 'It's the engineers fault'. These big bands have the top people in the industry.
    Those were special times for me (circa 1974). I don't have a pro-sound experience to relate but not sure I could be totally objective on the sound then and today. Back then I had great hearing, stamina, kind'a stupid-happy, not so particular about my surroundings, and on and on. I do know that at that time live sound ALWAYS sounded best. ALWAYS. It was alive, dynamic and sounded nothin like what came out of the home systems I had access to. Now days that perspective doesn't hold up so much. Good sound at home makes me picky about sound quality at live venues. So was it special back then for some other reason?
    David F
    San Jose

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, NZ
    Posts
    1,469
    Having used most of the old stuff right through to the new line array stuff, I cant really say one sounds better than the other. As far as setup goes, line array gear with winches is so easy to setup, even in very large systems. All "good" systems have the ability to sound good and bad depending on the guy doing the mix. One of the best sounding concerts I have seen in recent years was Queen in Kharkov in 2008. They used line arrays, 2 a side for the main mix and then 2 pair of smaller delay arrays. The system was not JBL but sounded remarkable. It was outdoors and had a 350,000 strong crowd.

    Back in the day we got a very good mix from W's , 4560's, 2350's and 2402's.

    To me it is all about what is being fed into the mix and who is doing the mix.

    Allan.

  11. #11
    Dis Member mikebake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    2,630
    I listen to different bands playing through the same house system all summer long, and some bands just know how to sound good, and easily the majority do not. The PA can also only sound as good as the band can sound.

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Central Coast California
    Posts
    9,019
    Unquestionably one of the best I've heard was just a few years ago at LA's Greek Theatre (outdoor venue) with the Australian Pink Floyd and a very well-managed JBL Vertec Array system. More recently a small theater gig at the Grammy Museum was very impressive with a smaller JBL Vertec Array set up. In fact the live set was much, much better than the two CDs we got and now never listen to.

    Hearing The Who play at the Silverdome in Detroit was pre-Vertec Array era JBL, and it was a blessing to have it in place of the crap PA system normally in use there.

    Allowing that I was mildly to seriously impaired at every concert I can remember before 1975, it's hard to say what any of it REALLY sounded like. It all sounded great at the time.
    Out.

  13. #13
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Ireland
    Posts
    1,234
    Alot of bands like to 'hide' behind the sound of a loud PA with way too much sub.

    I think alot of the issue is with the crazy amount of digital processing that is done before anything actually gets to the amps/speakers. Some of this gear is misused.

    I can't remember the last time I heard a snare drum through a PA actually sound like a snare. I was at a pub in Dublin a few weeks ago and a Beatles cover band came in with a crappy PA. I thought, Oh No, but all they did was run the vocals through it and everything else was direct from the guitar/bass/keyboards amps. I had forgotten how good a guitar thru a Vox can sound and oh those live snare drums. These guys were good muso's though. I was another pub gig and walked in while the lads were warming up with the PA off. Plenty of nice tone from the guitar amp. Then they started the actual show, put everything thru the PA and basically sounded like rubbish. Too loud, no tone, way too much of the drum kit was put thru the PA and it was only for 100 people.

    Mixing engineers often forget about the actual band on stage and just want to show off the PA. The flood of cheap Chinese gear hasn't helped as bands now think that they can get loud/high quality sound for less than $1,000.

  14. #14
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    309

    Mixing Engr's do forget

    Quote Originally Posted by Andyoz View Post
    Alot of bands like to 'hide' behind the sound of a loud PA with way too much sub.

    I think alot of the issue is with the crazy amount of digital processing that is done before anything actually gets to the amps/speakers. Some of this gear is misused.

    I can't remember the last time I heard a snare drum through a PA actually sound like a snare. I was at a pub in Dublin a few weeks ago and a Beatles cover band came in with a crappy PA. I thought, Oh No, but all they did was run the vocals through it and everything else was direct from the guitar/bass/keyboards amps. I had forgotten how good a guitar thru a Vox can sound and oh those live snare drums. These guys were good muso's though. I was another pub gig and walked in while the lads were warming up with the PA off. Plenty of nice tone from the guitar amp. Then they started the actual show, put everything thru the PA and basically sounded like rubbish. Too loud, no tone, way too much of the drum kit was put thru the PA and it was only for 100 people.

    Mixing engineers often forget about the actual band on stage and just want to show off the PA. The flood of cheap Chinese gear hasn't helped as bands now think that they can get loud/high quality sound for less than $1,000.
    I agree ..a small venue without PA interference can sound really good like ...Old Times...

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Rack Systems
    By JBL 4645 in forum General Audio Discussion
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: 05-05-2011, 04:05 PM
  2. Sat/Sub systems ???
    By SEAWOLF97 in forum General Audio Discussion
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 12-10-2010, 01:12 PM
  3. How many of you run your systems flat?
    By soundboy in forum General Audio Discussion
    Replies: 63
    Last Post: 06-20-2007, 03:20 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •