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Low Ohms vs Constant voltage systems

When selecting speakers and amplifiers required for a project it is important to nail down the basics. What is the intended output level? What is expected with regard to coverage? What do you know about the venue the system will operate in?

These answers will guide you down one of 2 paths; constant voltage or low ohms system, as each system is focused to provide a different solution.

Constant voltage, or “100v line” systems, were developed to allow large quantities of speakers to be connected over longer cable in a simple method. This design removes the need for careful impedance matching and complex wiring layouts, and reduces the gauge of the speaker cable required, reducing costs. Large distributed audio systems for paging and BGM are the perfect situations for constant voltage solutions. The downside is generally a lower fidelity and frequency response across the system, and a lower SPL output.

In cases where audio fidelity and SPL output are important, a conventional low ohms system offers the best solution. Performance spaces in theatres, schools, pubs and clubs are typical locations you would find a low ohms “Front of house” system for live and program music. Many of these systems are supported by constant voltage systems in the back end of the venue. Low ohms systems do require careful wiring configurations to ensure the nominal impedance is kept, and usually come with a higher price tag, but are essential for high quality, high SPL systems.

It is quite common for a venue to feature both styles working in tandem to cover the needs of different spaces in order to provide a unified system that is balanced and simple to implement and maintain.
Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of both systems will ensure you are able to provide your client with the results they expect at the appropriate cost, and provide a stable and suitable solution for you to support.

Talk to us to discuss the best solutions for your clients.

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