Waterloo, ONTâ€“â€“Selena Gomez recently completed a successful U.S. tour of 25 cities that required a cost effective sound system with a small footprint that had to deliver uniform coverage and exceptional sound quality in a wide variety of venues.
As FOH Engineer Jason Moore explains when asked about the criteria for the PA, â€œWe were looking for the best possible sound we could get in a small, powerful package that would allow us to find a happy medium between amphitheaters, theaters and arenas.â€?
Production Manager Javier Alcaraz says that, â€œDelicate Productions, one of the companies competing to provide audio for the tour, had asked me to listen to the Martin Audio MLA system. So I went to a demo in North Carolina where I listened to MLA and was floored. I called Jason and told him, â€˜I think this is the rig for you, where we are,
and what we need to do with the tour.â€™â€?
Initially drawn to another system, Moore says â€œJavier really opened my eyes to what MLA could do in terms of controlling the sound, a key factor in theaters with balconies and sheds with aluminum roofs and other kinds of problems.
â€œAs it turned out, the MLA system we were looking at could perform the way we needed it to, no matter what type of venue. Plus I was pleasantly surprised with the rig. Iâ€™d never been on the MLA before, but it wound up exceeding my expectations.â€?
According to Javier, size was also a factor: â€œFor the tour, they gave me three production semis for all the sound, video, production, backlineâ€“â€“everything. And with the rig coming in as small as it did in the truckâ€”the footprint was ridiculously tinyâ€“â€“that was a big help.â€?
The actual MLA system supplied by Delicate consisted of 11 MLA enclosures, one MLD Downfill, six MLX subs per side and Display 2.0 software. The audio setup also included Martin Audio WT2s for front fill and LE1200S stage monitors. AVID Profile consoles were used for FOH and monitors.
As compact as the system was, there werenâ€™t any problems in terms of getting the levels they needed. As Moore puts it, â€œIt was fine for the decibel level I need with this artist and demographic. I ran 102 to 104dB peak with no problems whatsoever.â€?
Even more critical was the MLA systemâ€™s ability to put the sound exactly where it had to be: â€œThe most helpful thing for us was the â€˜Hard Avoidâ€™ function in the software that really helped us focus the PA where we needed it,â€? says Jason. â€œA number of times Javier and I would walk around the room during the opening acts and be amazed at the coverage and the fact that there were so few reflections. Weâ€™re all used to doing amphitheaters and we all know what they sound like, but the MLA sounded different than anything weâ€™d ever heard before.
â€œThe ability to control the sound so precisely was a huge advantage,â€? Jason adds. â€œThe box threw so far that in some of the amphitheaters, our system tech Brennan Houser would tune the rig and turn off the delays. We didnâ€™t use delays in close to 60% of the sheds because the MLA boxes threw so far and sounded so much better. Brennan would direct the sound off the shed, taper it up the amphitheater, focus it out of the gap between the shed and the last row of seats, and it would make it every time.â€?
Javier adds, â€œI was back at monitors and there were so many shows where Iâ€™d have to take my ears out just to hear if the PA was even on because the rejection off the back of the box was truly unbelievable. The first few days of rehearsal, I pulled up the mix Iâ€™d been on for months and have to completely rework it. You canâ€™t hear the MLA system at all.â€?
The tour included two opening acts geared to Gomezâ€™ fan baseâ€“â€“Christina Grimmie and Allstar Weekendâ€“â€“in addition to Selena and her band, The Scene, which consisted of a keyboard player, drummer, bass player, guitarist/musical director and two background singers.
As Moore enthuses, â€œThis tour was really efficient and awesome considering the budget. All of the stars came into alignment for this considering the PA and crew and how well we all got along. We had a really nice asymmetrical lighting and video package and minimal staging which was very effective. And a small but effective PA system that sounded really good.â€?
Buoyed by their last experience, Alcaraz and Moore will soon be embarking on a Canadian tour with Gomez that encompasses 12 cities and includes four more MLA enclosures and three more MLX subs a side.
Asked about the clientâ€™s reaction to the MLA system, Alcaraz concludes, â€œWeâ€™re happy and so is the label. Everyone has had some really nice things to say about how good it sounded. As far as audio goes, the feedback has been very positive.â€?
For more about Martin Audio, please click to www.martin-audio.com.
About MLAâ„¢ (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array)
The result of many years of intensive R&D, MLAâ€™s methodology replaces trial-and-error array design with intelligent numerical optimization of the arrayâ€™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 Audioâ€™s proprietary Display2â„¢ system design software automatically calculates FIR DSP filters for each cell and a redundant-ring audio network (U-NETâ„¢) downloads the settings into each array enclosure. Martin Audioâ€™s VU-NETâ„¢ 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 â€” from tablet PC and Merlinâ„¢ controller to network interconnects and mains distro â€” are also included in the complete system package. This ensures full compatibility worldwide, down to cabling and accessories.
Additional features include 90Â° x 7.5Â° 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.
MLAâ€™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 â€” from a 2,000 capacity theater, to a 20,000-seat arena, to a 100,000-person festival site. It will deliver the engineerâ€™s exact mix to every seat (up to over 150 meters) with precision, exceptional power and clarity.
About Martin AudioÂ®
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.