A sound reinforcement system is designed and engineered to make capture and amplify sound and deliver it to an audience. The clear role it has is to distribute sound evenly to the areas where the listeners are, while ensuring that sound is not directed to non-listener areas such as the walls and ceiling. It is also used to transmit the sound to a remote location through an audio or video conference or streaming or record it for later distribution.
When it comes to a live performance, certain instruments can be heard without sound reinforcement, like a cello or organ. However, the soft notes of an acoustic guitar may need to be amplified so that the audience can hear it clearly. This is where a sound reinforcement system comes in.
Depending on the kind of audience and venue, the type of sound reinforcement system must be chosen. Line array systems allow frequency response and sonic coverage for the whole range of the system. They work best with low and mid-range frequencies, but aren’t the best choice if the audience is spread out from side to side or clustered close to the stage. In this case, it will have to be augmented with a point-source system. Point source systems provide a full range of sound without any additional modifications needed.
Sound Power and Sound Pressure Levels
Sound power or acoustic power, measured in watts (w) is the rate at which sound energy is emitted, reflected, transmitted or received, per unit time. It is neither room-dependent nor distance-dependent. A more important standard of measure to keep in mind while building a sound reinforcement system is the Sound Pressure Level (SPL). A term most often used in measuring the magnitude of sound, it is the main indicator that determines the layout of speakers for the event. To ensure that sufficient sound pressure level is consistently distributed throughout the listening area, besides the performance of the speaker systems used, the positioning and layout tends to be crucial to achieve high-quality sound. The SPL needs to be higher than any background noise or ambient noise to ensure that sound is distributed to the listeners clearly and intelligibly.
For a sound enthusiast, an understanding of the basics of sound reinforcement techniques, problems and troubleshooting is an absolute must to make informed equipment choices. We hope this introduction to the basic factors to keep in mind while designing a sound reinforcement system has been helpful.