All About Column Arrays

May 13, 2020 5 Comments

All About Column Arrays

Today we want to answer a couple of pretty common questions about column array speakers, specifically our TRC Systems. It’s fair that these questions get asked because when any musician thinks of PA speakers they picture more traditional speaker enclosures. But, column arrays can be just as good as, or even better than, traditional PA speakers. So let’s dive into it...

WHAT IS A COLUMN ARRAY?

The column array gets its name from its speaker orientation: multiple small speaker drivers, arranged vertically, in a tall and narrow enclosure. They kind of look like a Tetris piece don’t they?
Essentially, they provide the same kind of performance as large line array systems used in arenas but without the huge size and expensive price tag.

WHAT MAKES THEM BETTER?

Like everything related to music and audio the word “better” is subjective. However, we do have an affinity for column array speaker systems for several reasons:

  1. Aesthetics: due to their slim design, column arrays aren’t as eye catching as larger speaker enclosures. The whole point of live performance is to keep all focus on the performer and not the equipment. Without any distractions to divert their attention the audience focuses more on the performance happening on stage.

  2. Portability: have you ever had to carry large PA speakers up a flight of stairs or long distances? Has your truck or van been packed too full for any more gear? Yep, we’ve been there too! Thankfully, column array systems are much easier to handle. Many feature lightweight designs allowing for ease of transport and their smaller size makes for more room in your vehicle. Some, like our TRx3900 speakers, even have custom gig bags or cases to make for easy transport.

  3. Consistency of Sound: one of the interesting things about sound is how greatly it can change based on your location in a venue. Sometimes everything sounds great up at the front row and muddy or dull at the back row. And then the opposite can happen! Thankfully column arrays give you consistent sound throughout most any venue. The design delivers an equal sound level from front-to-back and ensures everyone in the venue gets the best experience possible.

WHAT SETS YOURS APART?

When developing the TRx Series and the TRC Systems we considered some of the shortcomings of a column array speaker system.
Due to the smaller size of the speakers in the enclosures column arrays don’t produce a lot of low end. While this can be good for events where clarity of speech is important it doesn't make for the best audio system for bands or DJs. The simple solution is to add a good subwoofer and we’ve done just that by adding the TRx3118A to the TRx Series, which includes a built in DSP and a 2000W power amp to power both the sub and 2 columns. We recommend purchasing both the column arrays and subwoofers together as a TRC System package. These systems are scalable, so you can start with the 2000W TRC200A System and add a second system or extra subs later for a system with up to 6000W!

Also, most column arrays have to be positioned physically to get the correct projection for a venue. This task can often require professional installation, which gets expensive. We know many of our customers are looking for simple solutions to their needs. Our TRx3900 speakers use Constant Delivery Dispersion (CDD) technology that helps project sound throughout the venue. This CDD tech creates a wide horizontal spread, meaning the sound is consistent throughout the audience.

And the best part is you can set it all up yourself! Professional quality sound for everyone.

IS IT RIGHT FOR ME?

Having said all this, do we consider Column Arrays to be the be-all-end-all of PA Speakers? Absolutely not. There’s a time and place for other types of PA speaker systems. What works for you doesn’t necessarily work for the other person. As anyone can see, we offer much more than column arrays speakers on our website.

Ultimately, it’s best to do your homework. Research, learn and (once we can all go back to live venues) listen! You’ll find the answers before you know it.

Take care friends and we’ll see you again soon!



5 Responses

Ed Benes
Ed Benes

July 07, 2020

Can the system be place behind the band to remove the need for monitors? I’ve used a Bose L! classic line array system like that with good results . . but occasional feedback. The Bose is good up to point, but then lacks power for larger outside venues. I have a 3-piece band with acoustic guitar/vocals, bass and drums. I’ve been trying to study this TRX 200 and wonder if it would either replace the Bose, or be additive . . perhaps making the purchase of a second TRX 200 unnecessary. Can the amp section power two passive speakers? I have two Carvin 973 400 watt speakers that are taking up space. Trade in? Your thoughts are appreciated. PS . . I’ve been a Carvin and Kiesel customer for years. Love your gear and the service you’ve provided.

Steve Hunyady
Steve Hunyady

June 24, 2020

I use line arrays in several situations. 1) a cappella & spoken word (for intelligibility) 2) outdoors (far better dispersion, deeper throw, safer from being tipped over), 3) stereo PA (audience can hear both channels) 4) small rooms & shallow stages (lower volume on stage and nearby audience, often monitors not needed) 5) acoustic instruments (accuracy; no crossovers) 6) unknown venues (problem rooms can be more often handled by line arrays). I don’t use them for rock bands, typically.

Jim Key
Jim Key

June 11, 2020

I have used the TRX system for several years and it is awesome. Years ago, Carvin also offered the sub in 2 × 10 cabinets. I wish you still had those available. There are times when the 18 is bulky and the footprint can be too much for small stages. The arrays do exactly what you say. They don’t blow the front row over and they reach the back of the room, even big rooms. I would also like to see an additional speaker out on the back of the sub. When using half my system for my duo, the cable has to stretch all the way across the stage from one array to the other. Very awkward. With an additional speaker out, one sub could be center stage and the cables could run behind everything with shorter cable runs.

Ken Peffley
Ken Peffley

May 14, 2020

Can you discuss more about bands, and how that set up work? Thx

Darrell Garner
Darrell Garner

May 14, 2020

My band has been using TRX System for several years with GREAT results. The system is easy to move, place and set up. The sound is great up close and at the back of the room. We tend to play bars, mid-size venues and smaller private parties – the TRX supplies the right amount of sound in all situations. Our old system was made up of several amps, 2 subs, and 2-4 FOH speakers. It was heavy, awkward, and took awhile to set up. Wtih the TRX, two guys can set up within 10 minutes… TRX has been great for us – The Band 256

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Audio Info & Education

Protecting Your Hearing In The Studio
Protecting Your Hearing In The Studio

July 30, 2020

We talked recently about protecting your hearing on stage, which is vitally important if you want to continue performing for any length of time. What’s not talked about as often is protecting your hearing as a studio musician, engineer, mixer, or producer.

Read More

Quick Home Studio Acoustics Primer
Quick Home Studio Acoustics Primer

July 27, 2020 1 Comment

Many musicians and home studio enthusiasts place top priority on expensive plugins, computers, monitors, and other gear. Those are great things, but the well-initiated know that when it comes to making a home studio great, acoustics is where you can get the most bang for your buck.

Read More

Mixing In Headphones – Is It Possible?
Mixing With Headphones – Is It Possible?

June 19, 2020 1 Comment

The days of every record being made in a commercial studio are long gone. In fact, some producers weren’t even born in those days. Now, productions are made everywhere from multimillion-dollar studios to bedrooms to airplanes. With so many people making recordings on laptops and without high dollar monitors or proper acoustic treatment, it makes sense that more and more mixing is being done on headphones.

Read More