Line Array VS Traditional Box Speakers, Why not just get the line array ?

I am sure this question has been posed many times over but I am curious as to response from the current active crew here.   Since I attend live music on pretty much a weekly basis for the most part I always come away with the same.  I actually need that line array at home thought.  Even if its not the band but the music between sets , I still need that line array.

We all spend good money on trying to recreate the live sound at home.  Why not use the same pro gear that bands do, DJs, Clubs etc...for a fraction of the cost of some of the crazy systems you guys have.  I have heard systems that cost ungodly amounts of money and no home system at any amount of investment that I have heard truly sounds like the real deal.  Some folks spend stupid money on AMPs, cables speakers and the sound is amazing but again it doesnt sound like it really does live.   For a fraction of the cost you  can get you the real pro AV sound.  

I look forward to the responses as I know a bunch of the cats on here are musicians as well.


Most of the live shows I hear sound worse than what I have at home, and it's not a line array.

Unless it's an acoustic show.

As for the "live sound" would that be front row, middle row, back? Balcony? What are you searching for to count as "live"? I ask because the sound varies a lot depending on where my seat actually is.

@searchingforthesound   You have a legit question. The live concert sound of professional line arrays is very compelling. It's mostly midrange frequencies at very high sound levels. In the home environment they just aren't accurate enough to flesh out the details you will want to hear. Pro drivers are designed to be robust before any other consideration. For the home a horn speaker is what you might want to hear.  A pair of Klipsch Fortes or stacked LaScalas with a nice tube amp will give you everything you need and quite a bit more. 

It’s a good question.  

The acoustic science behind Line Arrays is significant.  They are designed to project high volumes a long way.  There is a reason they’re used in large facilities - because it’s very difficult to get full volume to the back of a large venue/arena without adding side fills or back fills - which then have to be on delays so the sound arrives in back from all sources somewhat evenly. Roughly speaking, line arrays are built such that the amplitude of the sound wave is multiplied because of the specific proximity of the drivers to one another.  But, this comes at a significant cost in other areas.  They’re inherently narrow dispersion (hence the ability to push sound a long way) and they have a LOT of phase cancellation issues - particularly when run in stereo.  (Most live concerts are run mono - not stereo).  If you were able to walk around a venue while a crew is doing a sound check, you would hear the sound materially change moving just a few seats.  Of course, you could tune your array for the sweet spot in your living room.

And, as @russ69 points out, pro speakers are built to play loudly - not accurately. There’s an adage: you can have loud, full range, accurate, or reasonably priced. Pick two.

The cabinets are designed to take the beatings of load in/load out on a daily basis. But, they have to be moveable too.  So, the cabinets are simple felt covered plywood boxes which vibrate (and therefore speak) like crazy. 

But, there is a way to get what you want for home use. Look at JBLs, Klipsch or any number of companies that make speakers for both uses (pro and consumer) as there is some commonality to their house sound, dynamic range, etc.  They’ll give you that “jump” factor.



Thanks for the chatter.   

here are some responses.  I have probably been to over 1000 live shows not counting bar and bar bands.  Thats thousands more.  Jazz,  Blues, reggae, New Wave, Punk, Fusion, Classic Rock, Singer Songwriter stuff, Zydeco and more.  I typically sit in first 10 rows but have sat all over arenas, stadiums , clubs, amphitheaters etc... I know the sound is different throughout the venue.  I will never sit under an overhang in the back of a theater for that reason.  Last night I saw Samantha Fish, Devon Allman and Dirty Dozen Brass band.  Samanthas mix was horrible from the 5th row but soften out back towards the middle.  Bass was overpowering vocals no matter where you were though.   This is why I posed this question today.  I was like man i need a line array at home ! Again!

Klipsch answer, I already own Forte IVs a few tube amps a Marantz SS and a pair of Tektons plus a bunch of other speakers .  Some classic NHTs that kill in my home theater set up.  So  I know that well.

I do not actually like blaring midrange so the description of loudness and jacked MIds do not fit what I hear live.  I have seen acoustic shows, and jazz shows etc... not at loud volumes even Acapella groups and still I say home speakers do not get there. 

Why not build a small  array for the home to get some of that live sound?  I guess there is a reason no one has.  

Maybe in the end since I have seen so many live performances and played myself for many years iI cannot hear anyway.  HAHA!  

Thanks for the feedback looking forward to others

Why not build a small  array for the home to get some of that live sound?  I guess there is a reason no one has.  

They are available and you could build a short array for not too much money. I'm going to guess that you won't get the sound you want. There is no way to duplicate a giant open air venue in your home. I was going to recommend some Tekton loudspeakers, that might be as close as you can get, maybe buy one of their big models? 

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I only attend acoustic concerts primarily because of the horrible sound. When I attended amplified concerts I carried ear plugs to prevent damage or discomfort. After a while just stopped going.

I don’t think all audiophiles search for the “live” presentation of music. I’m not sure that this is what this hobby is all about. While I can understand you seeking a particular presentation of music from your system, lives is not even close to what a good system is capable of producing. Details, soundstage, vocals, instruments, air etc. if your system is capable of producing and defining all of these things and more, it’s incomparable to hearing live music. My three cents…

Audiophiles will tell you pro audio suxs till it's remarketed to them at a very high price than its the bees-knees. Don't make me list all the brands and tech that started out as pro audio and is now considered audiophile. So if wanting a line array from pro-audio buy it. If wanting a line array that's audiophile approved there are options as well as DIY kits.

You're talking quantity vs quality in most live/ home comparisons. As hlide46  said, I get better sound in my living room than I do at many venues. As mentioned, try some horns...

Sounds like a good horn loaded speaker system is what you’re looking for. They can offer the dynamic range of a live performance like no other type of speaker can. They can play very loudly without heroically priced & sized amps, start & stop very quickly & can sound much better than most amplified concerts I’ve heard that are so hard with minimal clear frequency extension at both ends. 

But, you often can be subject to horn colorations & “honkiness” that are often a byproduct of their design. They also can be very large & dominate a room. A really good balance I’ve recently found & own are the Volti Audio Rivals. They’re not huge, beautiful, natural looking cabinetry, very efficient & dynamic & most importantly sound excellent with even modestly powered tube amps. They’re not fatiguing at all which to me is a real test of a system & w/ a good recording, can put you 10 rows back in a live performance. Lots of fun! Check them out. 

Good stuff guys.  I guess if you  do not like live music then you would search for more sterile recorded audio but in the end all musicians are trying to get that performance to come across as if they were playing to you.  Hence that is what I would consider the perfect system.  The soundstage that presents itself like the folks are in the room.   For sure some systems sound better then some rooms as acoustics are not the best at many venues I have seen shows at.  Places like Royal Albert  Hall, The Beacon, The Met , Carnegie Hall and  many many other small theaters I have seen shows at have incredible acoustics if you are in the right location in the venue.   The old Palladium, The Lone Star, CBGBS, Commack arena just to name a few Horrible acoustics.   Yes rooms all differ, acoustics all differ and some venues are absolutely horrible, outdoor shows are not going to provide solid acoustics  as well. 

As noted , I already have horn loaded Klipsch Fortes with a few choices of amplification.   I know Klipsch strives for the live sound and they get pretty close .  At low volumes just incredible accurate sound out of my Fortes.  I would go for La Scalas if it could fit them  as maybe I need that to get to where I want to

I will look into some of the other speakers mentioned as well but still have the question, why not a small array for home?  There is a guy that built a mini wall sound and now is building another larger one.  The mini system probably would be something I would dig.  It is built for instrument separation as was the original wall of sound.  If you haven't followed that its pretty cool .  Do some searches




Audiophiles will tell you pro audio suxs till it's remarketed to them at a very high price than its the bees-knees.


If you are interested in achieving live sound in your home I think that your instincts are good, but I’m not sure that actual, pro line array speakers are necessary unless you have a large room and are looking for exceptionally loud volume.

There are other things I would look at first such as multi-amping and active crossovers. At the very least a live audio engineer has separate control over the bass and the mid/highs. This helps in tuning the system to the venue acoustics as well as styling the system to the type of music being reproduced. This would be the same as adding a subwoofer system with an active crossover to your main system in home audio.

The other thing that is very important in live audio is dealing with venue acoustics, by far the biggest challenge, especially for traveling shows since using room treatments is not an option so they have to do it electronically. Also, all of their gear is electronically balance using the AES48 standard. This may not big the biggest difference maker, but is still part of the equation of what makes live sound what it is.

If you still think using line array speakers is the answer I would be looking at Meyer Sound.

Ok, so the O.P. wants his sound to as closely reproduce the sound he gets at live venues.

I know exactly what he's talking about. And also, what he is after.

Almost everyone here keeps talking about, "Line Array's".

Almost no-one has even mentioned, "Line Source Array's".

Which, contrary to popular belief? Is an entirely (different) animal.

But "Line Source Array" systems are indeed the one's which are closest to reproducing the music. In the way in which he enjoys it most, as he "perceives" the music played at live venues.

Some of you have read the white paper on "Line source theory" and some have not.

But that does not seem to matter. Because as far as I can tell. Almost nobody actually "Gets It". Especially the ones that should get it! 

I have gotten to the point where I can look at any home, "Line Source" system. And I can tell you within (15) seconds whether it will perform, "AS" a line source system.

Up to this point? I have seen (0) systems that will do this. And by this, I mean - Produce a perfect, outward expanding. Circular patterned - (At a full 360 degrees.) wave of phase coherent sound. Without, "Beaming". And that does exactly what the White Paper says that it should.

Only in point of fact? If built correctly, it does much more. It will perform what I have begun to call, "Line source effects". None of which are listed in the White Paper. Or anywhere else for that matter. And seem wholly dependent on the "Line Source" design drawn directly from the theory. And, as well predicate to the correct "physical application" of this theory. And you have to hear these to believe it. Otherwise? You simply will not.

Everyone still calls it, "Line Source Theory" for a reason.

Except for me.

And these do NOT have to be crazy expensive. But currently, they simply aren't exactly cheap to build. But that was my goal.




any music that has gone through amplification is no longer a live sound... an interpretation
but if your hands itch and money burns your pocket - you can buy it - outwardly like an array))).


Don’t confuse sound reinforcement with sound reproduction. Two different animals.

The equipment used for making music is different from the equipment used for reproducing music. A musician's gear is for producing a sound suitable for his/her performance. It is for creating sound. Reproduction equipment must be able to duplicate all sounds heard in any performance. Mixers are a different story because they must handle anything the user wants to "mix.'  If you start using speakers made for guitar amps you may be quite suprised that they don't do much for clarinets and picolos. I learnd these things the hard way. Good luck. In any case, enjoy the music.