February 2013: Some Heartfelt Sound Advice

In this month’s newsletter, we take a closer listen to theatrical sound systems. Of the many different speaker system configurations, three in particular are commonly used to reinforce musical and theatrical performances. Read on to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each.

So what is L/C/R? L/C/R stands for Left/Center/Right Clusters. However, to fully answer this question we need to first take a look at the other speaker system types and how they are used.

Mono: A mono system implies that all amplified audio originates from a single source utilizing one speaker cluster mounted centrally in front of the stage. Properly deployed, mono systems generate the highest system intelligibility as the amplified audio arrives at the listener only one time. The benefit to mono systems is their simplicity of use and lower installation costs. The downside is that the audience doesn’t get the audio imaging provided by a stereo system so music may sound one-dimensional.

Stereo: This speaker configuration, which is most commonly used for live music reinforcement, consists of two dedicated sources, and is normally created by using speaker clusters mounted on either side of a stage. Stereo systems project different instruments from two speaker locations and can enhance audio effects like a car driving across the stage, creating the desired audio image. This imaging can envelop the listener, allowing them to hear the location of every instrument and provides depth to the performance. However, poorly designed stereo systems don’t provide the proper coverage resulting in a split mono system where most of the audience will only hear half of the audio:

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