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Martin Audio MLA Rocks Japan’s Biggest Festival

Martin Audio’s award-winning MLA system continued to wow audiences in the Far East with a successful tour of duty at Japan’s largest festival, Rock in Japan.

Promoted by music magazine publishers Rockin’On, and an annual event for twelve years, the three-day extravaganza featured over 100 of Japan’s leading rock bands and artists and drew a crowd of around 60,000 daily to the venue at the Hitachi Seaside Park in Hitachinaka.

Rental company MSI Japan, who provided front line sound reinforcement for the event every year, now had the luxury of fielding the MLA for the largest of the six stages (Grass Stage)—specified by the company’s president, Shuzo Fujii.

The promoters were already aware of the power of the MLA system, having experienced it on the second stage (Lake Stage) at last year’s festival, where the system enjoyed its Japanese debut. It was so successful, they were happy to endorse its promotion to main stage this year.

With Martin Audio Technical Training Manager, Martyn ‘Ferrit’ Rowe, optimizing last year’s sound, the system tech duties this year passed to Dave Sugawara.

A procession of headline artists, including Princess Princess, Yuki, KREVA, Perfume, Spitz, The Hiatus and Acidman all played through MLA with their respective sound engineers all commenting on the sonic quality and characteristics.

For MSI Japan the challenge involved throwing the sound over 250 meters without a delay tower, which the 19 MLA elements and one MLD per side managed effortlessly. This was further boosted by the LF extension offered by two hangs of six MLX subs and an additional 11 on stage.

Reflecting on a hugely successful weekend (in which further MLA enclosures from MSI Japan were also on duty at another baseball stadium show, Osamu ‘Sam’ Yamashita from Audiobrains, Martin Audio’s Japanese distributor, stated, “The beauty of MLA was that it maintained its consistency right across the 200 meter throw distance. But at 300 meters there is a parking lot—and the system was optimized so that the sound could hardly be heard at all from there.”

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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.