Technotrix Inc. used a number of Martin Audio systems including its MLA (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array) rig to reinforce the Chicago Blues Festival and Taste of Chicago in Grant Park.
Featuring artists such as Shemekiah Copeland with special guest Curtis Salgado, Irma Thomas, the Omar Coleman Band, Legends of the Blues with Sam Lay, Corky Siegel and Marcella Detroit, Eddie Cotton, Lazy Lester and the Chicago Rhythm and Blues Kings among others, the Chicago Festival had four stages with Martin Audio loudspeaker systems.
The setup for Grant Park’s iconic Petrillo Music Shell included seven MLA and one MLD (downfill) enclosure a side with four MLX subs per side ground-stacked in front of the stage. Additional fill was provided by six W8LM across the front of the stage while one Martin Audio XD12 per side was used for VIP fill.
As Technotrix Audio Manager Brent Bernhardt points out, “The main challenge at the band shell is that you’re only allowed to hang 2,000 lbs. on the structure which limits us to eight boxes a side, That said, the MLA setup handled the coverage for a large concert audience including a throw of 300 ft. up to the delays with astonishing results and no problems at all.
“In terms of the subs, we’d typically do a broadside array but they had special needs during this show in terms of the press and photographers. And even though I’m not a fan of left-right configuration—they have more impact but create an undesirable power alley with uneven bass response––the MLX subs made the best of that situation and provided consistent coverage across the audience area. Blues is not a genre that’s low end heavy, but they did exactly what they had to do.”
According to Brent, Martin Audio’s Merlin loudspeaker and network management system was also helpful: “I could use Merlin to matrix mono feeds under one control protocol for house delays and front fills, IEMs for signing systems, VIP and hearing assist systems.”
Other Martin Audio systems at the Blues Festival included two ground-stacked W8C cabinets over two WSX subs as side for the Pepsi Front Porch Stage, three W8C over three WSX subs a side ground-stacked in built-in scaffold bays at the Bud Light Crossroads stage, and two WT2 over two WS2A subs a side at the Jackson Mississippi Rhythm & Blues Stage. Martin Audio MA2.8 and MA4.2 amps were used to power all of the stages.
For Taste of Chicago, self-billed as “the nation’s premier free outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining community,” the musical lineup at the Petrillo band shell consisted of The Roots, KONGOS, The Decemberists, Billy Idol and The Isley Brothers.
With the band shell’s structural weight limitations, Technotrix used the same MLA setup as the Chicago Blues Festival with 6 subs a side based on what was required by the performers.
“In terms of reactions to MLA, Brent points out that “Billy Idol’s FOH engineer was really happy, he’s definitely a Martin Audio fan. In fact, most of the engineers were amazed with the results we got considering the amount of boxes. With the advances in Martin Audio’s Display software, optimizations for the PA are continually being improved for even more stellar results.”
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