Quick – what’s the most visible sound gear at a concert? Large, imposing, occupying large chunks of real estate right at the front of the stage, they’re the elements that turn inaudible electricity into the sound waves everyone hears. It’s the speakers!
Yet for all their importance, the typical quality of SL speakers is downright abysmal.
Have you been to an actual RL music concert? I’m guessing the speakers they used there were not studio monitors enlarged to elephantine proportions. No matter how big you make a desktop speaker, it’s not going to magically turn into something that will be used at a live music venue. Speakers for sound reinforcement are specifically engineered to fulfill the demands of touring. And as a purpose-built product, they have distinctive characteristics that make them readily distinguishable to their home stereo counterparts.
Another thing that RL concert sound equipment is not, is a wall of Marshall 4×12 cabs. A wall of Marshall cabs is good for guitar (actually, all those shredding guitar heroes have only one or two of those amps on). However, it is absolutely terrible at reproducing the clarity needed for vocals, the thump required for kick drum, or the shimmering highs needed for cymbals.
Large-scale concerts in RL are not addressed by stacking up a near-infinite number of little boxes made for vocals in small rooms. Multi-box arrays are the norm for load-in/load-out manageability and trucking purposes, but they are engineered in a manner that takes this arraying into account.
While low-end music-store (MI) grade boxes have their place with baby bands in small rooms, pro sound in large venues consists of upmarket gear you can’t buy from your friendly local Banjo Center (at least not without special ordering).
Oh yeah – the speaker cones in RL sound reinforcement gear do not visibly grow larger and smaller two times a second.
So with the above in mind, here is what I see as flaws in most speakers across the grid:
- Studio monitors scaled up to ridiculous size
- Desktop speakers laid end to end and top to bottom to create implausible arrays
- Fairly good renditions of cheap Behringer, Kustom, and Harbinger junk
- Arrays of subwoofers with no high frequency boxes, or the reverse
- Silly fantasy cork-sniffing-audiophile looking stuff
- Speaker arrays that might look like real pro gear – if it did not have big blinky strobe lights built in
- Just plain mis-proportioned speakers
- A few speaker boxes that were individually well-rendered renditions of real pro sound gear – but linked into fixed, incorrect arrays
- Punitive perms (no copy no mod) on the products from the one vendor I found that did not violate the above.
With the above in mind, I have decided to focus upon speakers as RealSoundGear’s first lines of SL music products. These speakers will be:
- Photorealistic renditions
- Of real pro gear
- Configured and/or configurable in realistic arrays
- Conservative in prim consumption
- With rational permissions
- Sized appropriately (1 SL meter : 1.25 RL meter)
- At an affordable price competitive with less attentive builders.
Having labored intensively to get the stage built, the gear positioned, and the system tuned, the roadies of RealSoundGear take a brief well-deserved pause just before doors…
…let the show begin!