Old Barn Audio Invests in MLA Compact to Meet Market Demand

Old Barn Audio’s new MLA Compact & MLA Mini rigs (Pictured left — Neil Kavanagh; right — Phil Clark)

With the outdoor season fast approaching, and local authorities across the country seeking to reduce noise pollution at key event sites, Kent-based Old Barn Audio has taken the enterprising and preemptive step of purchasing a 16-element MLA Compact system from Martin Audio to help meet the anticipated market demand.

Director Phil Clark says that given his company’s own history with Martin Audio — coupled with an already existing demand this summer for a technology that is scientifically proven to eliminate off-site noise escape — the move was a logical one.

“We are not a rental company and have no intention of competing with rental partners. But having done research, and noted the extent to which production companies are cross hiring from each other on peak weekends, it is sensible to make more enclosures available on a dry hire basis. Along with the flying frames and cabling we can provide an 8-element a side solution.”


Clark adds that he and partner Neil Kavanagh are also mindful of the frequency with which the award-winning MLA (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array) is now appearing on riders — and this helped drive the decision.


“MLA Compact is a problem-solving PA with a reputation that’s spreading through the industry,” Clark says in summary. “The purchase represents a major step forward for us, and while we hope it also enhances Old Barn Audio’s reputation, we want the major rental companies to look at us as partners, not competitors, and as a resource for offering trouble-free hire. The sub-hire market does not have to cover just the UK either – we are in direct contact with many of our European MLA partners to also be able to offer this cross-hire to them as well.”

Old Barn Audio already enjoys ‘Sub-Distributor’ status with Martin Audio and are ‘Main UK Distributors’ for MLA Mini, a system they also hold in their rental and cross-hire stock. The company has also supplied an MLA Compact system to Doug Hunt Sound & Light while, as installers, they have specified many Martin Audio systems over the years within their British and international portfolios.


Al Brown, Martin Audio’s UK National Sales Manager had the final word, “For the last three years Martin Audio’s share of the UK Festival market has grown exponentially, and we already know that this year will be stronger again. Old Barn Audio’s vision to take advantage of this makes perfect sense and we are happy to support them in this opportunity.”

About Martin Audio®
Founded by audio engineer David Martin in 1971, Martin Audio pioneered the use of all-horn-loaded bass designs in world-class touring loudspeaker systems for groups such as Pink Floyd, ELP and Supertramp. Located outside of London, Martin Audio now embodies a sophisticated mix of acoustic design, research, mathematical modeling and software engineering for a wide range of products in the installation, cinema and touring sound markets.


About MLA™ (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array)
The result of many years of intensive R&D, MLA’s methodology replaces trial-and-error array design with intelligent numerical optimization of the array’s output based on a highly accurate acoustic model. The multi-cellular format has six individual cells in each enclosure, each with its own DSP and amplification.

With up to 24 enclosures, each MLA array has up to 144 cells -- too great a number to optimize manually, or by ear. Instead, Martin Audio’s proprietary Display2™ system design software automatically calculates FIR DSP filters for each cell and a redundant-ring audio network (U-NET™) downloads the settings into each array enclosure. Martin Audio’s VU-NET™ software provides real-time control and monitoring of the system.

MLA delivers a frequency response and SPL consistency never before achievable; a very high system output (140dB peak, per cabinet @1m); Automatic optimization of the array, both physically (splay angles) and electronically (DSP); Computer control and monitoring of the entire system, and total control of sound system balance for engineers and sound technicians.

MLA is fully integrated, with Class D amplification, DSP and U-NET digital audio network built into each enclosure. MLA complete systems are ready-to-use, with MLA, MLD and MLX enclosures, flying hardware, software, cabling and training all supplied. Everything needed is included. All ancillary items — from tablet PC and Merlin™ controller to network interconnects and mains distro — are also included in the complete system package. This ensures full compatibility worldwide, down to cabling and accessories.

Additional features include 90° x 7.5° dispersion; a compact size (1136mm wide x 372mm high x 675mm deep), one-box-fits-all (festivals to theatres) application range and a global voltage, power factor corrected power supply.


MLA’s compact size and very high output allows it to be shipped using smaller trucks, offering considerable savings and reduced carbon footprint. The system also includes the MLX powered, flyable subwoofer capable of an unprecedented measured peak output of 150dB @ 1m; MLD downfill cabinet, and Merlin 4-in/10-out system controller and network hub. Audio input is via analogue, AES3 or U-NET.

By adopting these principles and system components MLA is optimized for every member of the audience — from a 2,000 capacity theatre, to a 20,000-seat arena, to a 100,000-person festival site. It will deliver the engineer’s exact mix to every seat (up to over 150 meters) with precision, exceptional power and clarity.