In the world of live events, there’s a plethora of technical jargon that can be confusing for those not familiar with the industry. Two terms often thrown around are “line array speakers” and “point and shoot speakers.” But what exactly do these terms mean, and how do they differ? Let’s break it down as simply as possible and dig a little closer to what is the correct option for your event. 

Line Array Speakers:

Line array speakers are a type of loudspeaker system commonly used in large venues and outdoor events. The design consists of multiple speaker boxes arranged vertically in a line (array) in which tuned and deployed properly acts as one speaker.

One of the main advantages of line array PA systems is their ability to focus sound directionally. By angling the individual speaker elements, sound engineers can control the dispersion of sound, directing it precisely to the audience area while minimizing audio spillage to unwanted areas. The attendee in the front row should be hearing relatively the same volume and clarity as the back row when it is tuned and deployed properly.

Point and Shoot Speakers:

Point and shoot boxes, on the other hand, refer to traditional loudspeaker systems that emit sound in a more omnidirectional manner. These speakers are typically standalone units that are placed strategically around the venue to provide adequate sound coverage. Unlike line array speakers, point and shoot boxes do not offer the same level of directional control.

While point and shoot boxes are simpler to set up and operate compared to line array systems, they may struggle to provide consistent sound quality throughout the venue, especially in large or acoustically challenging spaces. 

Note that in the graphic below, the attendees in the first few rows will have a much louder experience in order for the back few rows to have a reasonable sound level. 

Choosing the Right Option:

When deciding between line array speakers and point and shoot boxes for your event, several factors need to be considered. These include the size and layout of the venue, the type of event, the desired sound quality, and the budget available.

In general, line array speakers are preferred for large-scale events such as concerts, festivals, and larger corporate events where precise sound control and even coverage are essential. Point and shoot boxes, on the other hand, may be more suitable for smaller venues or events where simplicity and cost-effectiveness are prioritized.

Ultimately, both line array speakers and point and shoot boxes have their place in the world of event production, and the choice between them depends on the specific requirements of each event. By understanding the differences between these two speaker systems, event planners and sound engineers can make informed decisions to ensure the success of their events.