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SLS LS8695 Line Array
A user's miscellaneous ramblings
If you have any questions, email me.

 

These boxes are for sale - click here!

 

They ain't perfect, but what is?  All boxes have their resonances and "funny spots", and these are no exception.  But over all they sound very nice from top to bottom.  One of the best sounding rigs here in town is either EAW KF695Zs or Yorkville U15s, driven by a DriveRack and PL236s.  The guy who owns this rig likes my LS8695s a lot, especially the highs. I have yet to hear of anyone who does not like them.  If Danley Sound Labs made a box that was say 90 degrees horizontal x 30 degrees (or less) vertical, that would be very tempting, since it would no doubt play louder.  But until then, I'll likely be sticking with the LS8695s.

The LS8695's claimed horizontal dispersion is 100 degrees.  It seems to be quite a bit wider over a fairly wide bandwidth.  When walking the room during a show, I can often understand most of the lyrics when standing where I cannot even see the front of the cabinets.  Common wisdom is that one wants pattern control in a narrow or reverberant room, to keep sound off the walls and directed to listeners.  Thus, the LS8695 would be contraindicated.  Such seems not to be the case with these boxes.  I've had them in rooms that were skinny and deep, wide and short, and large & square.  As compared to both front loaded and horn loaded "point source" boxes, Intelligibility, SPL, and frequency balance have been more consistent throughout every room in which I have tried them, except for two.   (In both rooms the speakers were very far from the side walls, which are very reflective, so the sidewall reflections arrived very late.    However in another very wide room,  a domed-ceiling theater that is a 72' x 72' reverb chamber, there did not seem to be any place in the room where the reflected sound came anywhere near to equaling the direct sound.  The provider who rented them from me for that gig was very pleased, and the venue manager said that attendees commented that this was the only intelligible speech and enjoyable music that they had heard in that room.)  (One downside to the ultra-wide dispersion is that these boxes spill a lot of sound onto the stage.  This can compromise gain-before-feedback in a number of situations.  I have a parametric inserted in my vocal subgroup to take care of it.)

These speakers "throw" like crazy.  My measurements confirm that as SLS claims, the SPL reduction as the distance from the speaker doubles really is only about 3dB, as opposed to the usual 6dB.  And unlike "point source" boxes, you can walk right up to an LS8695 without getting your head blown off.  In fact, as you approach them, past a certain point they get quieter.  And, while you are there visually inspecting the pretty gold ribbon, you can hear the box on the other side of the stage.

Keep in mind that these things have only 2 degrees of vertical dispersion.  If you are below or above the ends of the box, the treble dies, so they must be ground stacked.  But since they don't kill the folks in front, and they are so skinny, you can get away with putting them places that other boxes won't go.  Once you know where the front row is, play with the height a bit, and of course you can tilt them forward if it helps.  Having them "too close" to the side walls does not cause much of a problem - in fact after EQing out any hot spots you may find that the proximity to the wall has fattened them up nicely.

They sound very good indeed, but these aren't the loudest things in the world - life is a compromise.  I mostly do rock bands in bars, and a few have really maxed these things out.  I'm using one box per side.  I have not gone active yet (I need time in a big room with a Smaart savvy friend, as "playing by ear" has not yielded good results).  SLS's passive crossover can be ordered with a biwire option - it separates the inputs to the crossover's low pass and high pass sections: low pass = NL4 pin set 1, high pass = NL4 pin set 2. At the rack, you can connect the two pairs in your 12-4 speaker cable to one amp channel or two (both fed with the same full range signal). I'm driving each box with a pair of bridged Crown K1s, which gives me 1100 on the top and 1500 on the bottom (K1s are not enough poop dual channel, and K2s don't sound as good).  My processor's limiters are set to brickwall the amps' output at 38vRMS, per SLS' recommendation.  If I were starting from scratch, I'd try a PL236 on each side, as they sound good and should (I think) be able to handle a pair of boxes.

Misc.: The boxes have fly points on the top, bottom, and sides.  SLS now have a couple of mounting gadgets (which used to be shown on their website).  Since I just have one box per side, I use the bottom points to bolt the boxes to the top of my amp racks.  The drunks have to hit them very hard before they'll fall over.  The handles are on the back, which is handy if you are putting them in coffin cases.

 

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