Historic Venue Gets Martin Audio MLA Upgrage
Touring logistics meant that Paul McCartney’s regular PA system could not make the Verona date so local supplier Amandla Productions stepped in to provide a Martin Audio MLA system, supported by All Access, the owners of Italy’s largest MLA rig.
Paul McCartney’s long standing FOH engineer Paul ‘Pab’ Boothroyd’ was at the helm for the show, ably assisted by his touring system tech Chris Nicholls. Both were impressed by the system’s performance.
“I had heard a lot of good things about the new Martin Audio rig and was happy to use it for this show,” stated Boothroyd. “Everybody was really happy with the show, the coverage was great and the detail and clarity in the system made it an enjoyable show to mix. It’s great to see Martin Audio right at the front of new design — the first systems I mixed on were Martin Audio Philishave rigs and that powerful musical sound got me going in my career.”
All Access system tech, Red, was able to demonstrate the unique control of the MLA to Chris Nicholls with good effect: “The way the system was able to cover a steeply raked venue with relatively few boxes was very impressive — it didn’t look as though they had enough curve on the array, and we gave them a really tight weight target to hit so they couldn’t add more boxes; yet the flatter array shape was great for the throw required. With a quick adjustment in the software they had the system covering great right up to the back seat without adjusting its angles and that’s something I’ve never heard a system do before.”
The system deployed in Verona included 12 MLA per side for main hangs, six MLA per side for out hangs and two MLD in the orchestra pit for front fill. The out hangs were particularly challenging as they had to be flown from the ancient stepped seating within a scaffolding structure. The manageable weight and size of the MLA cabinets made this difficult manoeuvre possible. “The MLA is less than 88kg,” reported Red, “and being based around horn loaded 12’s meant we could physically lift the cabinets and fit them in between the steps and the scaffold structure; anything heavier or taller simply would not have been possible in the space available.”
The Out There tour continued on to Vienna before returning for a run of shows in America. “We’re back to our normal touring PA after this show but I’ll look forward to mixing on MLA again — this rig is right up there with the best in the world,” said Boothroyd at the end of the spectacular two and a half hour set that featured a huge range of songs from the McCartney, Wings and Beatles back catalogue.
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’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 theaters) 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 peak output of 150dB @ 1m; MLD downfill cabinet, and Merlin 4-in/10-out system controller and network hub. Audio input is via analog, 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 theater, 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.