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What's the matter? Don't audiences want to hear the words any more?

An RP reader prefers not to have to unload and set up four speaker stacks for the same money as two. David Mellor has to agree (for once)...

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Comment from an Audio Masterclass visitor...

Matt Grounds wrote:

In response to your article on quadraphonic sound...

Have you ever been the poor sod being a PA tech for a band wanting quadraphonic? I have, and I can tell you it's no joke!

No one wants to pay for it so the PA tech works twice as hard, and on a tour with twice as much PA for the same money, and pretty much the same audience response... It's really not worth it!!!

Incidentally, when was the last time you saw a theatre show? I can't remember the last time I saw just a centre cluster in theatre... Left, centre, right, surround.. There seem to be more outputs than ever in theatre today!

David Mellor responds...

I think we'll have to agree to have a difference of opinion on this one. I worked in theater and I see it as a space where anything is possible. If more speakers are wanted, then if it's in the budget then why not?

If the promoter of a gig however wants more speakers for the same money. Well, I have to draw the line there.

The center cluster was and remains a very good system for speech and vocals intelligibility. A point source inherently time aligns the output for the whole of the auditorium. However, I don't see so much value of a cluster for instruments. The combination of a cluster for vocals and whatever speakers you like for instruments seems ideal.

What will never ever work is to play speech or vocals through spaced speakers. The time delays for very large sections of the audience will severely reduce intelligibility.

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By David Mellor Wednesday September 28, 2005
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