Nothing looks more rock ‘n’ roll than a huge stack of speakers on either side of the stage. The question is: does it actually sound any good?
Unfortunately, everything in the universe must obey the laws of physics (despite how bizarre they can become). This applies to speakers as well, which, in short, dictates that one speaker will always sound better than two. Try it yourself. Even with top dollar speakers that are designed to array, you will probably hear a difference in quality between having one and two plugged in. Physics is a jerk at very short frequencies and no speaker is ever perfect.
Let this thinking translate to your sound system designs. Does every speaker have a purpose? Is it helping you get the coverage you require? Is it helping you achieve the frequency response you need? If the answer is ‘not really,’ then you should probably unplug it. I have lost count of the times whilst touring with bands that I have unplugged speakers at venues and got better sound as a result.
Jamie Earle is Clearwing’s Chief Audio Engineer. He started working in the shop of a PA company 10 years ago, cleaning sick off of cables and painting speakers. Since then he has toured as Band Engineer and Systems Engineer. He was brought up in a small 8000 pop coastal town in the South East of England and has spent time living and working in Prague, Czech Republic, where he met his Minnesotan future wife. They moved to the US in April 2014.