Loudspeaker types are grouped into a variety of categories, but let’s delve into the world of column arrays. Column arrays are multiple small speaker drivers confined within an often tall and slender enclosure that is arranged vertically.
When it comes to its length, the longer the column array, the more directivity the model generally has across the largest frequency range. They can be moved and set up quickly without taking up much space. Plus, they blend in well, especially with other installations or decorations. And their dispersion characteristics can make them a good choice for facilities with hard, reflective surfaces or reverberant spaces. But the placement of the loudspeakers within an area makes a world of a difference when it comes to the system’s success, especially in reverberant spaces. Typically, having a boundary like a wall behind the column array has been found to be most helpful.
It used to take quite an extensive system to reach audiences. But this is no longer the case, thanks to column arrays. Since these speakers can be hidden and blend in easily, you’ll also likely see them in many houses of worship (if you can even spot them!).
For various houses of worship, the ability for speech to be clearly understood in some of these acoustically challenging spaces can be beneficial. While larger houses of worship usually require more sound amplification to fill them, the shift to contemporary worship styles in a much wider range of houses of worship, including many mid-sized ones, has allowed column arrays to flourish in this environment.
Since many houses of worship nowadays have been adding to their experiences with different musicians and presenters, finding the right loudspeakers for the environment is key, and column arrays are an affordable choice to consider. In the world of audio, there are a lot of different designs for various situations, and technology like column arrays open up your options. But some houses of worship prefer to use line arrays and point source loudspeakers. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of column arrays.
- Sleek appearance
- Easy to hide or blend in with installations
- Tight vertical dispersion and wide horizontal dispersion
- Lower Sound Pressure Level (SPL) than line arrays
- Often need a boundary, such as a wall behind them
- Not as plug-and-play as point source
Like full-sized line arrays, column speakers can produce consistent sound levels throughout the entire room without having to use bulky multiple-speaker cabinets. Therefore, this can streamline the whole process and it allows the speakers to more easily blend in. While there are many factors to consider, the size and shape of the environment and the type of audio the system will need to support are some of the most important considerations. Typically, line arrays are used in larger settings or with music such as rock bands, for example, whereas column arrays are used in more mid-sized settings and tend to work better to amplify voices clearly. But, of course, it depends on the particular model.
What type of loudspeakers do you use the most to get the job done, and why?