During the The Killersâ€™ sold-out performances at the O2 Arena, their long-time sound engineer James Gebhard made the radical decision to fly his favorite compact Martin Audio line array system WITHOUT using the W8L Longbow system which projects effortlessly to the rear of the 20,000-capacity arena.
In fact the entire coverage, including side hangs, front fills and delays, was made up of 20 mighty Martin Audio W8LC Compact line array hangs as the main reinforcement systemâ€“â€“stretching production company Capital Sound Hireâ€™s inventory to the limit. Martin MA4.s amplifiers powered all of the full range enclosures.
With the two delay hangs of 12 W8LCâ€™s set 165 feet back down the auditorium, the two main SR stage arrays of 18 W8LCâ€™s and a pair of W8LCD Downfills were complemented by 14 W8LCâ€™s and two W8LCDâ€™s as side hangs, and six W8LC and two W8LCD as the upstage secondary side hang. These were supplemented by 12 W8LS Subs up in the air, with another four floor-mounted alongside four WS218Xâ€™s.
Four blocks of two Martin Audio W8LM Mini Line Arrays provided front fills reinforced further by three W8Câ€™s to cover the front rows.
With most of the system flown, the main task was to pull the image down for those sitting in the nearfield area from a vast hang, trimmed 36 ft. above the stage. Because of the length of the drop and the large vertical coverage angle involved, special ViewPoint array software predictions had to be provided by Martin Audio R&D Director Jason Baird.
Capital Sound Hire has worked extensively at the O2 Arena, with acts as diverse as Take That, The Stereophonics, Kylie Minogue, El Divo and Lee Evans. â€œAnd although this is not the first time we have used delays it is the first time we have taken such a radical design approach,â€? said account manager, Paul Timmins. â€œBut I was pleasantly surprised that we achieved what some may have thought as being a suicidal gamble.â€?
Gebhard was certainly not sorry. â€œIâ€™ve loved the W8LCâ€™s since first using them on the NME Awards Tour with the Killers four years ago,â€? he said.
He used them again on a one-off show with the band at the Royal Albert Hall last November. â€œI wanted to use LCâ€™s because of the way the Albert Hall is designedâ€“â€“you have to treat it like a club. It was a one-off show, and the first time Iâ€™d used the Compacts with the flown subsâ€“â€“and it sounded outstanding.
â€œItâ€™s just a question of more boxes and a bit more time involved, but itâ€™s well worth it for the result.â€?
Photo caption: Capital Sound Hire crew