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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been a while since I've been on here but it's a nice place and I'm glad to be back! Since the last time I was here I've learned quite a bit about speaker design and have started selling things on my website. I have a few things I sell regularly but that's not what this thread is about.

This thread is about playing! Everyone has to have some fun once in a while right? I've always been interested in line arrays and I'm excited to get this project started. Half the fun for me is building/testing new designs. The good ones make it as products and the ones that dont; you write them off as a learning experience. As long as you have fun who cares right? :D

Well I've been itching for something new to add to the product line and I think a line array is the proper direction to go. The visual presence of a line array is awesome even before you hear them. And I'm confident I can make most anything sound good so I'm going to give it a shot.


Not soPro Tip

There is strength in numbers, and also a large bill. Line arrays require a lot of drivers. Even if the drivers are cheap the thing will still be quite expensive.


There will be 8 midrange drivers and 8 tweeters per line. I have access to a number of drivers but I landed on the CSS WR125ST. They are truncated so I can get them VERY close together. 6mm of one way Xmax, YES SIR! They were designed to be used full range and truthfully can with a tad bit of top end EQ. However, I'll be using some Dayton 5/8" Neo Tweeters for that extra top end sparkle. The domes are just over half an inch and off axis response is fantastic. These are super cheap but are amazing as long as you don't need them to go low....which I don't :D

I'm going to be building a powered sub into these as well. Yes, a powered sub per cabinet. I'd originally intended on going with a CSS Trio12 but the enclosure was quite large so I'm thinking I'm going with a CSS SDX10. The Trio12 was my choice because it's a little more efficient but I found that if I tune the SDX10 a little higher I can get the system efficiency to come up a little which almost makes up for the difference (at least modeling shows it does). Power for the sub will be by way of a Bash500 watt plate amp. I think I'm going to have to mount the thing vertically (which I'm not wild about) because I want to keep the profile of the enclosure as thin as possible. It should be noted, that I'm planning on side firing the subwoofer. By doing this I can skinny up the enclosure to 8.5" maximum. I'm still undecided if I should front or rear fire the ports for the sub but I'll figure that out later.


I'm planning on running the line system (mids and tweets) passive after all is said and done. But initially I'm going to run them active off the media server since I have 4 amp channels and a MiniDSP that needs a reason to live.


Look at these beauties!!

 

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This sounds like a very interesting build! :clap:

Do you have the baffle / cabinet layout(s) complete? What about the crossover (modeled anyways)? I would be interested in seeing them, and definitely want listening impressions.

Will the mids and tweets (not driven by the BASH) be a 4ohm or 8ohm load?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I actually cut most of the wood earlier today. I don't have the crossovers built yet because they will be designed based on how the drivers test in the cabinets.

Also, the line section will NOT be powered by the BASH amp and will yield an 8ohm load.
 

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That looks like a fun build.

I know that line arrays can be very challenging with unpredictable performance - but I've always wanted to build one.

Hope it turns out well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, I'm not sure how well it will work but the theory is good. I keep looking at the stack of wood and for a moment wonder if I need all the bracing I cut. Then I look at the mountain of drivers I have going into it and then I wonder if I need more lol

I decided to put the subwoofer port on the front very close to the bottom. I figured it would load of the ground a little. The ports for the line section (two 4" ports, and yes they are both needed) will exit the rear. This was not my first choice but the geometry was such that it was unavoidable. I typically like to port out the front because it makes speaker placement easier but I don't think it's a deal killer in this instance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Word to the wise...

If you're going to make a line array where all the drivers touch flange-to-flange you need to be VERY precise with your measurements. Even if you're off by a 1/32" on each driver by the time you get to then end you're out a full 1/4" and they wont fit.

I'm fairly careful and I was still a 1/16" out when I got to the end and it wouldn't fit. I had to work some magic but finally got everything to fit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Alright alright...here's a sneak peak from a few days ago. I cut the holes for the tweeters yesterday and made sure everything fits.

My next step is to put a bunch of holes in the full length bracing. I also have a special way to kill the backwave and standing waves caused by the parallel surfaces but we'll get to that later.

 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I also have a special way of giving you some build progress. I'll see if I can get my new camera to cooperate. If I get it to work it should be really cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah. The flanges actually touch. I figured the best way to get them closest together was to actually let them touch ;)

The port routing for the subwoofer section was tricky to draw out. I think I planned it out correctly so everything should fit. I'll be test fitting Thursday and maybe some today.
 

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Those look nice! How tall are they gonna be? Where do you think the best listening height is gonna be in relation to the array?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
They are going to be about 65" tall. To tell you the truth I don't know how the dispersion will work since this is my first array. There should be plenty of coverage though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
There was an oversight regarding the tweeter placement on the baffle. I spent my evening rebuilding the baffles but I think we're ok now. Hoping to start assembly over the weekend.
 

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StereoClarity, thanks for your build progress, and please continue to provide pics, please. Line arrays can be problematic to implement, with commercial offerings being described ( by various reviewers ), as anywhere between " dreadful " to " excellent". Therefor, I anticipate the conclusion of your build, and the results of critical listening. Its alot of work, I hope everything comes together. Cheers, Mike.
 

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Have you considered what listening conditions you are trying to achieve? I (from what I have seen) would expect a line array to be slightly convex or concave, depending on how you are going to mount the speakers and where you are intending on the listener being. Any insights on using a straight array?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
StereoClarity, thanks for your build progress, and please continue to provide pics, please. Line arrays can be problematic to implement, with commercial offerings being described ( by various reviewers ), as anywhere between " dreadful " to " excellent". Therefor, I anticipate the conclusion of your build, and the results of critical listening. Its alot of work, I hope everything comes together. Cheers, Mike.
Thanks for the encouragement Mike! I've heard two line arrays so far and have been rather pleased with the sound from both. One was a very tall (10ft?) line array with long ribbon tweeters and the other was probably 6ft high using the same tweeters I'm using.

I think there are two common reasons why line arrays get a bad reputation in some instances. A line array is NOT a nearfield speaker. You need to be a bit farther away for proper listening. The distance will be determined by the line length and driver spacing as far as I know. The second thing I've heard about line arrays that some people don't like is the unrealistically large size of the sound stage that's produced. This could make Peggy Lee sound like she''s 12ft tall rather than a normal sized woman. I don't seem to mind though. In my opinion it's like watching a movie on the big screen vs my 40" TV.

I'll do a write up on listening impressions when I'm done. If any other shacksters are in the area I'd be more than happy to have a listening session at my place.

Have you considered what listening conditions you are trying to achieve? I (from what I have seen) would expect a line array to be slightly convex or concave, depending on how you are going to mount the speakers and where you are intending on the listener being. Any insights on using a straight array?
Good question. In an optimal setting the line would go all the way to the ceiling but there's no way I'm going to do that. People have different ceiling heights so that's a bit of a problem. These will be tall enough for most rooms and will still be short enough to fit in ANY room. I'd expect optimal listening distance to be something like 15ft away? I've only seen one concave line array (in a picture) and thought it looked cool. I can see the idea of having the drivers all the same distance from the listener but I'm not sure it's that critical. Like I said, I'm only just getting into line arrays so I'm not that well versed.

Speaking of optimal, the biggest thing I've learned from this is the CTC distances need to be kept at a minimum. CTC being center to center, the middle of the drivers. The midrange drivers I used have truncated flanges so they can be placed closer together for that very reason. The tweeters I used are small, also for the same reason. However, it seems I had a lapse in my ability to think and let my fondness of symmetry take over when I was cutting the holes for the tweeters. That being said, I've trashed those two baffles and cut new ones that will leave only .25" between each tweeter.
 
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