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In terms of accurately reproducing an instrument or voice sound how do big professional speakers like Meyers compare to audiophile speakers like Tannoy Eatons?

In other words, if you stand 50 feet away from the Meyers are you going to hear a sound quality that is as good as sitting 6 feet away from a pair of Tannoy Eatons (assuming the rest of the system is comparable)?

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    You're never going to compare listening to anything 6' away, in a room, to anything 50' away in open air. Even listening in a 50' room will give a very different result. Chalk and cheese comes to mind. – Tim May 13 at 12:28
  • @Tim Actually, companies that make sound equipment do these kinds of tests and comparisons all the time. Where in my question do I say that the Meyers are outside and the Eatons are inside? Obviously I am assuming equivalent acoustic environments. – Tyler Durden May 13 at 12:49
  • @aaron Just to add on piiperi, PA system is sometimes considered as an instrument on its for instance in the acousmonium ( en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acousmonium ) – Tom May 13 at 18:20
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Live sound is about crafting sound, finding a compromise for maybe thousands of people spread over a large area in a complex space, with the sound source in the same space, at the same time as its sound is being amplified and delivered to the audience. You could consider the whole PA system as a very large instrument that's used for performing music. Just like a guitar amp is a part of a guitarist's sound, the PA system is a part of a pop/rock band's sound.

For some music genres, it is important to have a lot of low bass that punches your chest, and so-called "sound quality" doesn't matter. If you don't have a lot of sound and low bass, then your sound is bad, for that genre. If people in the back row can't hear your music loud enough, then your sound is bad. If someone in the center cannot hear some instruments at all because of phase-canceling, then your sound is bad. If you can't play loud enough, because you get acoustic feedback through the microphones, then your sound is bad. If a part of the audience hears some frequencies excessively loud because of resonance or standing waves somewhere in the room/hall, then your sound is bad. If one person if the audience in a very precise location in the space gets supernaturally heavenly perfect hifi sound, but the rest of the audience get rubbish, then your sound is bad.

Here are some links found with a web search.

Can I use PA at home, and mix PA and Hifi equipment? SURE! BUT....

Summary:

  • if you want this for "audiophile" listening, then a PA system is not your thing, it's not good for that
  • but if you want a BIG SOUND for electronic dance music, techno, rock etc., then a PA system can be plausible, if it's not a problem that the equipment needs a lot of space and can be impractically loud ("overkill")

Am I silly to want a PA system for home use? https://www.harmonycentral.com/forums/topic/197125-am-i-silly-to-want-a-pa-system-for-home-use/

PA as home stereo https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/pa-as-home-stereo.1879437/

PA system vs home stereo https://www.avsforum.com/threads/pa-system-vs-home-stereo.2679417/

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    Ok, I didn't understand there is a distinction of "PA" sound. Thanks. – Tyler Durden May 13 at 15:20
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    When I was 18, I used my band's PA for a party. Did it sound great? Yes! Did it sound like a hifi? Not in the slightest. These days I use my studio monitors… loud enough to bend the walls, flat enough to satisfy even the most discerning ear. Win/win. – Tetsujin May 13 at 17:31
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If you compare a sports car with a lorry there are quite a few differences. And the Tannoys are more like a sports car and a large Meyer system is more like a lorry. If you want to deliver sound to 10,000 listeners in an arena I would select the Meyer Leopards above the Tannoy Eatons anytime. But it would be a very unfair comparison, the Leopards would not work very well in my living room.

So let us make a few things clear first. Audiophile equipment is made to be bought by audiophiles. Professional equipment is made to be used professionelly, that is earn money. This means that sometimes audiophile equipment contains functions or solutions that might not really add anything to the sound quality but add to the buyer perception of getting something unique or special. On the other end, professional equipment is made to be functional and robust and simply delivering up to requirements and these might or might not include "fidelity".

Let us look first at PA equipment. This is more like the lorry size equipment. If you go to an arena size event you will find that one of the main requirements is to be able to deliver enough dB to the audience. This can be done with different levels of "sound quality". You can get hifi quality on a full arena using the correct tools. On the other hand, if all that is required is to be able to hear a voice announcement you will use quite different tools. This distinction is the actual point of professional equipment -- it is a tool to reach a goal and the goal varies with the circumstances.

A much fairer comparison would be with studio monitors. And incidentally, various generations and models of Tannoy speakers has been and are used as studio monitors. The general goal of a professional studio monitor is to allow an engineer to make the correct decisions when mixing or mastering. Most studio monitors are made to as faithfully as possible reproduce the sound, not adding or removing anything. A few studio monitors, say mixcubes, are for specialized use but we may disregard these here. The first question to ask when selecting studio speakers is about the size of the room and the listening distance. Even in a fully treated room you would use difference speakers for a 3 feet distance and a 10 feet distance. In a small room there is often not much use trying to listen to the lowest frequencys at all, the room simply "cannot take them". In a less treated room it is much better to listen close to the speakers to actually hear the sound.

So back to the Tannoy Eatons. They are passive, 30 liter two way ported speakers. When I read the specifications, there are no measurement curves which is a bit suspicious. The only measurement given is "40 Hz - 30 kHz ±6 dB" which would be considered on par with some well-known studio monitors but I would be suspicious on the lack of other measurements. As example the Neumann KH310 shows "30 Hz - 22 kHz ±6 dB" but also gives several measurement curves (those are powered speakers though). In the critical range 100Hz to 10KHz they are ±1.1 dB, the Tannoys give no value. Given the size of the Tannoys I would say that they would fit, probably quite well, in a mid-size room with a listening distance of slightly shy of 10 feet if the room is well treated. If the room is not treated I would most probably go with much smaller speakers, say between 4 and 6 inch woofer and listen at about 3 feet to not get too much bad influences from the room.

So to try to answer your question. "In terms of accurately reproducing an instrument or voice sound how do big professional speakers like Meyers compare to audiophile speakers like Tannoy Eatons?". My general suggestion is that a properly selected, installed and tuned Meyer system will reproduce voices and instruments really well, as would a Tannoy Eaton system in a properly treated listening room. In the wrong room or in the hands of the wrong user all bets are off and they might both be way off.

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