I define tour sound as high power, high quality, mobile professional sound systems for musicians, bands, and other entertainers performing on stage, either indoor or outdoor, at small to medium sized venues (up to about 400 people). They are usually comprised of: microphones and DI boxes connected via a snake to a multi-channel mixer located toward the rear of the venue. The mixer inserts and outputs are connected to various sound processing devices such as compressors (if not integrated into the mixer), feedback destroyers, equalizers, crossovers and limiters. The mixer output is then transmitted via the snake back to the stage and to the power amplifiers. The amps then output the signal to the speakers, called line arrays because they are arrays of separate sub, low, mid, and high frequency enclosures either stacked in a line on the stage or ‘flown’ in a line by trussing and cables above the stage. Tour sound amps are usually rated at 750 watts RMS per channel or higher continuous duty, in single, bi or tri amp configurations. Line array enclosures with an integral, matched power amp are also available. This eliminates amp to speaker cabling, but adds AC mains and input cabling to the mix. The snake, mixer, processors, and amps are available as analog, or digital. Digital snakes digitize the input at the stage and use ethernet style connectivity to and from the mixer, eliminating the hums and signal loss of long analog cable runs. The power amps may have digital inputs allowing them to be chained together, and may also have internal DSP processors to provide custom tunings for each amp. The complexity of the subject, coupled with the plethora of available and compatible components, limits the ability to offer an ‘over the counter’ approach. Therefore, detailed and in depth discussion and planning, component matching, tunings, and possibly site visits are required to create a configuration that ultimately provides you with the best sound solution for your budget.
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