Subwoofers are a critical component to a great sounding live show. Experimenting with the placement of your subwoofers can have a profound effect on the coverage of low frequencies to your audience. We are going to examine a real world subwoofer application where the setup consisted of 16 TRx3218 dual 18” subwoofers distributed across the stage in 4 clusters each containing 4 subs. The software model below shows the coverage of the distributed clusters vs. a stereo setup with equal number of subs per side of the stage.
On the top graphic you will notice a very even coverage throughout the listening area with attenuated bass to the sides of the stage but a bit of bass under the stage area (Green Square). In the bottom graphic you will notice very intense lobes throughout the listening area that results in uneven coverage and unsatisfactory results. When dealing with subwoofers and low frequencies, compromises have to be made. In this case, the provider chose to have a little bit of extra bass under the stage to get the desired smooth coverage in the listen area. The mains were a Carvin Audio TRX3210A 2500w active line array system and were flown so there was no need to stack the speakers on top of the subwoofers, therefore they didn't need to do the inferior compromise of using a stereo subwoofer array. Below is a picture of the actual stage so you can see what it looked like in a real world application.
Take a look at how you deploy your subwoofers and think outside the box a little, you may be pleasantly surprised.