After an intensive market evaluation of well over a year, leading British rental company Capital Sound has made a significant investment in Martin Audio’s award-winning Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA).
Confirming the purchase of a large arena system (and complementary MLX subs), Capital Sound general manager Paul Timmins stated that the inventory upgrade is designed to future proof the company—who number Take That, The Killers and Stereophonics among their regular accounts—for the foreseeable future.
Speaking of the purchase, he explained, “In the modern era it is no longer a case of buying a system simply because we’ve been associated with the same brand for 25 years. We reviewed and demoed every major market system, but in the end it was vital that we backed ‘second generation’ technology. And however good the other systems were, only the MLA offered us this, with the right size and weight package.”
Technical manager, Ian Colville, agreed, “From a technical standpoint MLA quite simply is the next generation. Unlike line arrays, MLA calculates and controls each individual transducer throughout the array to create a uniform sound field across the length and breadth of the audience area. Parameters that have traditionally been difficult to predict and control—SPL variation, frequency response and coverage cut-off—can be accurately defined in the prediction software and re-calculated, if necessary, ‘on the fly’.”
He added that having spoken to technicians and engineers that had used MLA extensively the verdict so far had been unanimous: “MLA is very accurate, very responsive and very very loud!”
Sheer power was one criterion that Capital Sound had examined closely during the review period. Conclusive proof that this was a stadium system was provided in a shoot out against the Martin Audio Longbow system outdoors at Silverstone. Having been the first company in the world to use MLA (beta-testing with Enter Shikari at HMV Hammersmith Apollo in 2010), Capital Sound was able to assess its coverage and cut-off parameters during last summer’s outdoor season (at LED Festival), its speech and intelligibility on a comedy show at O2 Arena, and its ability to deliver high octane sound in smaller venues (with Whitesnake).
Other factors also played a part in the decision-making, continued Timmins. The arrival of Andy Davies, mirroring the appointment of Jim Jorgensen at Martin Audio in the States, provided the company with real application support in the touring sector, while Capital Sound felt confident that a global community of users was rapidly building. “We are aware of the sales that have taken place in the States and Pacific Rim and are confident that this is becoming a fully global system, which will be recognized and used by rental companies around the world.”
The final factor that drove the purchase was simple touring economics; with the fully powered and processed system not only eliminating the need for separate amp racks, but also, in many cases, delay speakers, truck space becomes more efficient.
Said Martin Audio sales director, Simon Bull, “As one of our longest-serving partners, we are delighted that Capital Sound have joined our growing community of MLA users. The fact that they carried out such an exhaustive review of other market leaders’ systems before reaching their decision makes the sale all the sweeter.”
Capital Sound has already earmarked the new MLA system for a major global arena tour, beginning this fall.
Photo #1 Martin Audio MD, Anthony Taylor (left) with Capital Sound MD, Keith Davis
Photo #2 Senior personnel from Martin Audio and Capital Sound, with part of the new MLA system. Left to right: Simon Bull (Martin Audio), Martin Connolly (Capital Sound), Anthony Taylor (Martin Audio), Keith Davis, Ian Colville and Paul Timmins (Capital Sound)
For more about Martin Audio, please click to www.martin-audio.com.
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 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 measured 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.
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.