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When it comes to portable PA systems, column speakers, also known as stick system or portable line array systems are all the rage. Why? A few reasons:
Generally, fairly light and small the column speaker is easy to setup/pack down and move from venue to venue. This is perfect for gigging musicians doing multiple gigs in different venues every week. There are some systems out there, like the JBL EON ONE that pack down into themselves and are only around the 18kg mark making this perfect to walk into your gig with your whole PA system in one hand. Other systems like the EV Evolve 50 are separated, a bag for the sub and a bag for the column speakers but still easily manageable.
The sleek design of the column speaker makes it look less intrusive, making it perfect for weddings, functions or events where the organiser doesn’t want the PA system to be seen. These are a lot easier to hide up against a curtain or behind a banner.
The column speaker works somewhat like a large scale line array system that you see at bigger venues or outdoor events. They are designed to cover a large area with even sound. Not too loud up the front but still loud and clear up the back to hear comfortably. The vertical coverage is fairly narrow as to not direct sound up to the ceiling and the horizontal coverage is usually fairly wide so for a lot of applications you can get away with using just one column speaker to cover a whole area.
Because of the multiple speakers in these arrays, feedback tends to be less susceptible. Feedback is that horrible squeal noise or long low rumble you sometimes get when you walk in front of a speaker. It’s a bit complicated, but feedback is caused by a signal loop, so for example. If you point a microphone into a speaker that speaker will output the signal coming from the microphone, then that microphone will pickup the signal and amplify it back through the speaker sending noise back into the microphone so the microphone will then amplify that louder signal and send it back through the speaker and then the microphone will pick up that signal…..you get the point! So by having multiple smaller speakers spread out at a lower output you are less likely to get this feedback loop.
This is perfect for soloists, duos or bands, you can throw these column speakers behind you and it eliminates the need for monitor speakers on stage. You’ll get to hear more accurately what the audience hears and less gear to carry for your setup!
Typically, column speakers give you a bit more clarity. So these are perfect for vocal or public address systems where clear vocals are essential.
The column array is not for every application, not being as loud as typical point source speakers or full scale line arrays, but if you’re looking for a portable PA system that gives you clear sound, great coverage and is easy to setup, consider looking into the multiple types and brands of column array speakers out there in the market at the moment.
Just to name a few! Go check out our range of column speakers at the link below. We have the Topp Pro VA42.12 and the DB Technologies ES802 in store right now.