For me, the words “Wall of Sound” conjure up memories of the good ol’ Grateful Dead.
The year is 1974
and the Dead’s popularity as a live act has grown immensely. When they started out, it was gigs in ballrooms and small theaters. With popularity came arenas and stadium shows. The Dead, always conscious of their fans, responded by building a sound system that was hard to believe.
After years of research and experimenting, the Dead’s tech team, Owsley Stanley, Dan Healy, Rob Wickersham, Bob Mathews came up with a sound system that had 641 speakers , 48 amps, 11 channels and 54 tweeters. The whole thing weighed about 72 tons and it took five trucks to tote the equipment around. It put out around 26,000 watts of pure sound. The Wall of Sound did put a huge strain on the band’s resources and was only used in 37 shows over 7 month period. You don't have to be a Deadhead to appreciate the quality of music that a system this powerful could produce . Some of you fellow noders who are in the music business might appreciate the following breakdown of the Wall of Sound.
Went through 1 channel and 19 amps. In all there were 226 speakers used, sixteen of which were 15”, sixty of which were 12” and one hundred twenty of the 5” variety. There were also 30 tweeters.
Also went through 1 channel but only one amp. It went through 20 speakers, all of the 12” type
Same as Lead Guitar
Went through 1 channel and 8 amps. In all there were 128 speakers used, sixteen of which were 15”, thirty two of which were 12” and eighty of which were of the 5” variety.
Went through 4 channels and 4 amps. In all, there were 36 speakers all of which were 15” variety.
Went through 3 channels and 10 amps. In all 120 speakers were used, sixteen of which were 15”, twenty of which were 12”, and sixty of which were of the 5” variety. There were also 24 tweeters.
Went through 2 amps and 64 speakers, twenty 15”, sixteen of the 12” and twenty eight of the 5” variety.
Went through 3 channels and 27 speakers, five of which were 15”, ten of which were 12” and twelve of which were of the 5” variety .
For more info and specifics on each of the systems, one might want to try www.dead.net/cavenweb/deadfile/newletter10soundrap.html