Jason Baird(left) and Rob Hofkamp, with the MLA
Nashville, TN (November 4, 2011)—Martin Audio recently demoed its MLA (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array) system in Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
On hand for the sessions were Martin Audio’s Research & Development Director Jason Baird and Director of U.S. Operations Rob Hofkamp. Representing the production companies who make up the MLA network in the U.S. were Jason Alt and Brian Bazilsky from Delicate Productions in Camarillo and South San Francisco; Jim Risgin and Mario Educate from On Stage Audio in Chicago and Las Vegas; and Jim Brammer from SES Special Event Services in Winston-Salem.
Two-hour, open-invitation public demos were held with groups of engineers and contractors that included a 50-minute PowerPoint presentation by Jason Baird explaining the multi-cellular technology in MLA along with extended listening sessions where a selection of audio tracks in different musical genres were played through the system.
Hofkamp explained, “Since the beginning, it has been our desire to provide engineers an opportunity to take the car for a ‘test drive.’ In the private sessions with independent engineers, they had the opportunity to bring in their Pro Tools mix of whatever artist they’re working with and actually mix a show on MLA.” The point of both sessions according to Hofkamp was “To demonstrate the consistency of coverage and SPL not only from front to back but also from side to side.”
At Bridgestone, the system consisted of 17 MLA and two MLD downfill enclosures per side, along with nine MLX subs per side in a ground-stack configuration. The system was set up in a typical North end stage deployment in the arena.
“We also showed them how we can electronically alter the coverage via our proprietary Display 2.1 acoustic modeling and array optimization software. Initially we covered the whole of the arena, from the stage barrier right up to the back seats of the upper bowl. Then by excluding the upper bowl seats in the D2.1 venue model by purely electronic means, we were able to ‘turn off’ coverage of this area. Similarly, had we initially only been covering the lower two bowls, we could have electronically extended coverage to the upper bowl.”
Asked about the reaction of the freelance engineers, integrators and consultants who attended, Hofkamp said, “Everyone was suitably impressed. It does exactly what Display 2.1 predicts.”