Horn speakers and compression drivers have been around forever. They are incredibly reliable, cost-effective, and can cover wide areas for voice, tone and public address applications. Horn speakers and compression drivers benefit when using filtering that protect the compression driver from lower frequencies while making them highly efficient. While in some applications these products are used for music, their most commonly used application is for the voice spectrum.
Horn speakers and compression drivers are often used at sports complexes for PA announcements as well as to pump up and entertain the spectators during breaks in the action. Music is very dynamic and can vary greatly from one genre to another and from one song to another. This can pose a problem for a horn or compression driver. While they have no problem reproducing the voice for the play-by-play announcer, they will have a problem producing the deep bass notes in today's popular music.
Horn speakers and compression drivers installed at sports complexes typically fail because of the type of music being played and the level at which it is played. As an integrator, you may complete the perfect installation but once controlled by the student pep squad who don't care about level settings, all the perfect work you have done may not matter.
So how can you fix this common problem? The first and most cost effective way is to use an inline filter between the source and the amplifier. One example of this is the AtlasIED TSD-HF11. This small Time-Saving-Device can be used with both balanced and unbalanced input/output connections and offers three levels of low frequency filtering as well as a variable input limiter to ensure no signal gets to the horns that can potentially be damaging. Read more about using the TSD-HF11 in the AtlasIED white paper Protecting Compression Drivers.
Another way to protect the speakers in a sports complex application is to use digital signal processing. A robust DSP like BlueBridge allows the integrator to electronically control the signal that reaches the horn speakers and compression drivers. A DSP offers much greater control than the inline filter and is undefeatable without working knowledge of the DSP software and access credentials.
The addition of a stadium subwoofer or subwoofers is a great way to ensure the system sounds robust and full without worrying about the horns being damaged by lower frequencies. Using either the inline filter or DSP, a stadium subwoofer can be used to enhance the sound by only delivering the low frequencies using a second amplifier channel that is not affected by the filter or DSP.
Horn speakers and compression drivers are still the best way to cover any entire sports complex and with the right equipment and knowledge up front, you can avoid having to repair or replace horns and compression drivers in the field while providing your customer a reliable long-lasting public address system.