Sound Systems 101 | Voice Only Systems | Background Music Systems | High Output Systems | Assistive Learning Systems

High Output Systems

First we will define high output systems, as systems designed for, and capable of, producing high SPLs (Volume) continuously. Dance club systems, large DJ type systems, and full blown concert systems, all qualify.



High output systems typically rely on "horns", as much as possible, to couple a driver (a moving diaphragm) to the surrounding air. Nearly all professional high output loudspeakers, use mid and high frequency horns. The size of low frequency horns often prohibits their use, on all but the largest systems. The use of vented sub-woofer boxes is typically the method of choice, for added low frequency output.

Contemporary systems often use large "full range box" systems (similar to the images shown above), supplemented by sub-woofers. Where more output is required, multiple boxes are used or arrayed, to reach the sound level required. Additional advantages of arrayed boxes are:


High power outputs are, of course, the rule for these systems. Professional high wattage amps, must dissipate tremendous amounts of heat, so large heat sink areas and cooling fans are typical. The designer / user must insure adequate ventilation, if dependable, long term operation is to be maintained.

As the systems become larger, power requirements quickly reach into the "Stratosphere". Each 3db (a small) increase in output SPL, requires a doubling of the system's power. It requires 10 watts to produce a level slightly louder sound, than 5 watts will produce - this is certainly not a big problem, in most cases. The situation is considerably different however, if we are starting with 50,000 watts, and need a meaningful increase in output. At these levels, even slight increases in sound output, cost tens (even hundreds) of thousands of dollars.

Amplifiers are also available with DSP (processor) cards, that control the various functions and parameters, based on user programming.