Napa, CA––Delicate Productions of Los Angeles and San Francisco provided Martin Audio MLA and W8LC systems for the Main (Intel) and Second (JamCellars) stages respectively at this year’s BottleRock festival, a feast for aficionados of exceptional music, food, wine and brew.
With a diverse talent roster including Imagine Dragons, No Doubt, Robert Plant, The Avett Brothers, Foster The People, Passion Pit, Snoop Dogg, Cage, Gipsy Kings, Awolnation, Public Enemy, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Los Lobos and The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, to name a few of the better known names, Delicate faced a challenge in providing superior audio, especially given the noise ordinance in Napa.
To handle the challenge, they set up an MLA system for the Intel main stage consisting of 16 MLA and two MLD enclosures per side for the main hang; 24 MLX subs; 12 W8LM cabinets for front fill and 8 W8LC’s for the off stage VIP hang. 16 MLA Compacts were used as delays for the Main Stage.
The second stage system consisted of 15 Martin Audio W8LC and 2 W8LCD downfill cabinets a side with 18 WS218X subwoofers and 6 W8LMD cabinets for front fills, all powered by Martin Audio MA4.2s power amplifiers.
Asked about the event, Delicate President Jason Alt comments, “BottleRock has been successful for us since its inception. This year went just as well, which was challenging because we do sound, lights and video for three stages.
“In terms of sound control, there’s a very strict noise ordinance in town, on property at FOH it’s 105dB C-weighted and beyond the festival ground it’s 65dB C-weighted, so we work with a company to handle the noise mitigation and with the artists while they’re sound checking or performing, especially those who are low frequency-dependent. We’re able to stay within those guidelines by providing real time monitoring so all an engineer has to do while mixing is look over at a screen to see if they’re within that noise ordinance zone and if they aren’t, the system will ask them to turn it down.
“The use of MLA, particularly on the main stage, which is less than 200 ft. to the nearest house, has been incredibly helpful. We do a broadside array for the main stage and steer the subs almost 90 degrees away from that side of the property because of the control Display gives you and the efficiency of the MLX. So you still literally get subwoofer in front of the barricade, but what is aiming at that house is almost a 30dB drop-off because of the way it’s steered. And we have full coverage including subs to the edge of the property because of what we can do with MLA. That’s a big part of it.
“And of course there’s the ability to steer MLA,” Jason continues, “where we’re dropping the main array off 50 or 60 feet past FOH. This year we went back to using delays to fill in some of the high end at the rear of the property, but even those are steered down about 20 feet from where the food vendors are so the listening experience is still good but you’re not screaming at them to place your order, especially in a festival that’s relying on a high end customer experience for the food and wine part of it.
Given the scope of the undertaking for Delicate, they brought a full crew including: Makato Araki (Lead Audio Systems Engineer) and Craig Robertson (System Tech), Andy Turner (FOH A1), Shaun Sebastian (MON A1), Greg Rideout (Stage Patch) and Ryan Trefethen (RF Tech) for the Main stage.
Kyle Anderson (FOH Tech), Andrew Freid (Monitor Tech), Rob Speight (Stage Patch), and Sergei Bailleul (RF Tech) worked the second stage.
Summing up about the reaction to MLA’s coverage and audio quality, Jason concludes, “Despite the wide range of artists at BottleRock––everything from rap to classic and indie rock, punk and jazz, all of the FOH engineers had a really great show. Robert Plant’s engineer Roy Williams mixed on MLA for the first time and he liked it a lot.
“It was also the first time No Doubt experienced MLA with us in a smaller environment and their front of house engineer JK (John Kerns) told us after the show that the system really performed and he got everything he needed out of it. We had a lot of positive feedback about MLA, which is not unusual at this point.
“For stage two with W8LC, we normally use MLA Compact, but the rest of the system was out on tour. And we had nothing but compliments for that too. Because W8LC performed really well and we didn’t even have to struggle to keep it within the noise ordinance limits!”
Photo: Linda Evans
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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.