BASIC SPEAKER DESIGN DIFFERENCES
Why make these different types ? Because making one speaker best for all applications is not possible, Different venues and number of people in a room or outside shows all take different enclosures to make the sound pressures even for everyone in a room or stadium. The enclosure type is much more important that the amp power you have available. Amp power alone will not make up the difference if you need another type of speaker enclosure to do the job properly.
In this article I will give you the basic differences, And this way can determine the best type for your DJ show.
Near field/or music playback enclosure
This is the most common type used by DJ's Today. A near field Speaker enclosure is designed to be heard in small room's , (500 or less people) where the guests will be close to the output of the enclosure, they are toned down (mid's and highs) to be comfortable to listen to at close ranges. The manufactures tone them down by box design and the crossover point's in the speaker it's self. Also the dispersion pattern (the angles the sound is projected from the enclosure) is very wide to cover a wide area from the face of the speaker enclosure. Sometimes small horns for the highs are used in this type of enclosure.
The P.A. Enclosure.
No...it's not the speaker found at the top of a pole at high school football games.!
This type of speaker is most companies Mid line enclosure. Priced more than the Near field but cheaper to buy than the concert enclosure. This is the type used by many live bands and DJ's also use this type (this is the type I use as well).
The differences from the Near field speaker enclosure are:
The High's in a two way speaker and the Mid's and Highs in a 3 way enclosure are "Horn Loaded". Horn's are for the "projection" of sound to the back of the venue in medium to large Halls. These horns are bigger than the near field enclosure horns. and will have a 1 to 2 inch compression driver.
The Enclosures are ...Well in a word "sharper" and offer a truer playback of what is put into them. Uncolored or flat response is the proper term.(I know all speakers add color/but as close as possible) This is why there chosen for live bands over the near field/music playback enclosure. Also the dispersion pattern is tighter( Narrower ) than the near field enclosure to project the sound farther to the back of the indoor or outdoor venue.
The P.A. speaker can be used in smaller Halls, You must EQ The Mid's and Highs Down though in a small room or the high freq.'s will be very hard on the ears. This is very true with recorded music, because the studio recording engineers boost the Highs to make up for the lack of performance in the avg. home stereo.(they do this with the bass as well. but we like that. LOL)
This type of speaker is very versatile and can be used in more places than a Near field/music playback speaker can, with the use of a EQ.
The Concert Enclosure.
There BIG and heavy, and are the top of the line for speaker enclosure manufactures.
Large Horns for the Highs and Mid's....2 inch or larger compression drivers, and some of the Sub enclosures are of a horn design as well. This is needed for the large venues that they are designed to be used at and the long distances the sound needs to be projected.
The dispersion patterns are even tighter for this type of enclosure, making it necessary to have a "array" of enclosures to cover the entire venue. (this type of speaker believe it or not is used by some DJ's, but very few) this type of enclosure is overkill for Dj use except for outdoor shows. In a small room the sound would be very hard to keep even, no matter how well there EQ'ed
That's the Basic outline. There is much more to this....But this is the basic outline that I believe all DJ's should know about. I know it sounds complicated, but if you know the crowd sizes you play for, And the Venues you play at, the enclosure choices are easy.
Always less that 500,and always indoors.. Near field are for you
Less that 500 one week, the next week possibly 1000/ or a outdoor venue....P.A. line is your best choice.
Have to be the King of the block and have a large trailer/van and have a need to move 250# Enclosures.....By all means.....buy some concert enclosures. Outdoor shows and large Venues are your main work.
All the major manufactures make all 3 types of enclosures. Shop wisely and sound better everywhere you go !