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Martin Audio Stays With the Milky Way

Martin Audio has extended its long relationship with Amsterdam-based music venue the Melkweg (Milky Way). For many years, the rock club featured one of Martin Audio’s Wavefront 8 systems. But after a stringent multisystem evaluation earlier this year, the club opted to upgrade to a three-way W8LM line array solution in the main MAX Room.

TM Audio project manager Jaap Pronk says that prior to commissioning, much experimentation with the system design and expert fine-tuning were required to achieve optimum effect. For the latter, he turned to one of Holland-based sound engineer and system designer Hugo Scholten. The change in approach was caused by the fact that part of the venue’s renovation at the beginning of the year involved removing the back wall and extending the depth of the room by 10 meters to increase its capacity to 1,500. Increasing the stage depth to six meters and repositioning it under a ceiling—which had now increased to a height of five meters to accommodate a lighting bridge—had a profound effect on the acoustics.

“Since the stage is hollow, it was also acting as a bass resonator when we ground-stacked the WMX subs,” says Pronk.

Instead, he proposed that six WMX subs be flown from each side of the stage—alongside 10 W8LM (and W8LMD downfill) clusters—with the sub frequencies steered by the three Martin Audio MA4.8 amplifiers to which they are assigned. At the same time, careful optimization of the mid-highs was required as the W8LMs now had to fire even further down this narrow, elongated rectangular room. The system was set up using Martin Audio’s proprietary DISPLAY and ViewPoint software and fine-tuned by Scholten.

Pronk says, “While the requirement was to create coverage that was as wide as possible, providing even coverage in front of the stage was also paramount.” This was achieved by placing a W8LMD at the bottom of each array—giving a 140-degree spread. Because the W8LM/LMD arrays are mounted on a track, these can be re-angled and retracted when the adjustable stage is used in its smaller configuration.

The Martin Audio installation—boosted by new S218/W8C sidefills—forms the centerpiece of a complete new cabling infrastructure that includes stage, monitor and system EQ patching, with integrated matrix mixing (offering tie lines to the Melkweg’s recording studio) and transformer-based channel splitting to FOH, monitors, recording studio and broadcast trucks. The wiring architecture was designed by TM Audio and Ampco/Flashlight Group sister company Engine.

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