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A four 4 x 12 cabinet line array for guitarists? No way, says one RP visitor

An RP visitor takes issue with the idea of stacking up four 4 x 12 guitar cabinets. Apparently smaller and lighter is better...?


Comment from an Audio Masterclass visitor...

Hello David,

Where did that Line Array idea come from? As a tech that has worked over the years with the 2 x 4 x 12 cabs and 4 x 4 x 12 cabs, I do my utmost to move guitarists back to 50/30 watt combos.

As time goes on and Health and Safety encroach on our lives, then the future of the big guitar rigs are doomed to the past, I have lost a large amount of high end frequency from my right ear from setting up those big rigs. The idea is to, make the on-stage sound smaller, so the FOH guy has a chance of making it sound good, who on earth would want to go the guitar Line Array route?

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I am working with a band at this time, where we put the AC30 off stage into a room and feed back the sound through the monitors. That way the guitar player can run the rig upwards of 75% and get it singing. That is the way to go. (Smaller!)

I have spent some 35 years trying to make a difference, and continue to do so.

Kindest regards

Barrie (Barru) Evans

David Mellor replies...

Where did the idea come from? Hmm, that would be Duncan Williams who is full of them, although I have to admit that my brain does tend to take a simple and perfectly sensible idea and run with it some distance...

Firstly, I have to say that anything that tries to make the experience of music simpler, more efficient or just plain smaller is likely to be a bad thing. OK, for a band that gigs regularly it is more practical to have small and lightweight equipment, but for anyone who wants to stage an event, then taking the easy route simply should not be in their mind set.

There are practical issues however, and Health and Safety certainly is one of them. A more powerful amplifier is likely to produce a higher sound level than a smaller one, and higher sound levels are more likely to be damaging to hearing. However just because a stack is big doesn't mean it has to be loud. Stacked cabs have a different sound to small cabs with just one or two drive units. You don't necessarily need a big amp, and Marshall do indeed make a 20 watt tube amp that would drive a stack, even a 4 x 4 x 12 stack nicely.

Also, there is the consideration that if the sound from the backline is high in level, then it will compete with the PA and the front-of-house sound engineer will have less control over what the audience hears.

I would have to take issue that the conventional model of PA usage that has emerged over the last 30-odd years is the only way to do it. Yes it is practical, but I have been to plenty of events where the sound quality has been disappointing in the extreme. Plainly there is the opportunity for other models to be developed that may be better, or better in some situations.

The idea of putting the backline into a separate room however is the most intriguing. My mind is buzzing already and I am sure I will have further comments on this soon.

I guess I'm just trying to make a difference too, or at least make differences possible.

By the way, the pic in the article was a mock-up. Please don't try it without supporting the stack properly.

By David Mellor Thursday September 15, 2005