Adventures In Audio
A line array for guitarists? Or, could you handle a 4 x 4 x 12 stack?

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

Monday September 5, 2005

In large-scale public address, it is now common to use so-called 'line array' loudspeaker systems. Basically, a line array consists of a number of full-range cabinets wired so that they hang in a vertical column.

The benefit of a line array is in its directional characteristics - it disperses sound widely in the horizontal plane, while tightly focusing it in the vertical.

The result is that it delivers sound more effectively to the back of the auditorium than other configurations of loudspeakers.

In an idle moment when I was musing on the subject of 4 x 12 guitar cabinets - entirely normal for anyone interested in music and sound engineering, I assure you - the thought came to be that the 'stack' configuration where one 4 x 12 cabinet is placed on top of another is very much like a line array.

OK, it's a fairly short and squat line array, but a line array nonetheless.

But then I thought, why stop at two 4 x 12 cabinets? Why not extend vertically?

So the idea came to me of having four 4 x 12 cabinets mounted vertically, with proper safety measures in place.

To get an idea of what this would be like, stand up and imagine a two-cabinet stack that is as tall as you are, right in front of you where it would be if you were adjusting the controls. Now look up and imagine one twice as high...

Impressive, isn't it?

Yes, a four-cabinet stack would look mighty on stage. OK, so the roadies wouldn't like it - but they seem to manage PA line arrays, so I don't see why they should not adapt quickly.

And you can be sure that your sound will penetrate all the way to the back of the venue!

The only other consideration would be... where do you put the amplifier?

Having the amp on top conjures visions of the guitarist going up by ladder to turn the volume up a little (to 11?). Perhaps the center of the stack would be the best position.

OK, here's the challenge - when you have done this for real and played a gig with a 4 x 4 x 12 stack, send us the pics and we will publish them right here, along with any other band info you would like to promote.

Who is going to be first? (Perhaps the bass player with an 8 x Ampeg 8 x 10 stack!)

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