Nashville, TNâ€“â€“Having recently completed a critically acclaimed tour with the Zac Brown Band and the groundbreaking Multicellular Loudspeaker Array system from Martin Audio, SES (Special Event Services) of Winston-Salem, North Carolina decided to use MLA for the Capitol Street Party event featuring Darius Rucker in Nashville.
For this event, a modified Stageline SL320 was set up on the central median of a four-lane road for the annual Block Party event sponsored by Capitol Records, the US Marine Corps, and local entrepreneurs.
As reported by Martin Audio technical liaison and MLA guru Martyn â€œFerritâ€? Rowe, â€œdue to the limited rigging points, we elected to fly 10 MLA cabinets from a single point per side. The FOH mix platform was 141 ft. from the stage about 3 ft. off the floor and part of a tower system for Lighting, Video and follow spots, with a remote Led Video screen located
on the rear.â€?
More specifically, â€œthe total throw distance was about 377 ft. with a 3.9Âº uphill slope, audience coverage was +1.5dB / -4.5dB for a total of 6dB variation,â€? Ferrit added.
The street in question was lined with trees on both sides, with various Bars and eating establishments/retail shops on the Stage right (House left) side, while the other side was more open behind the tree line where various catering and refreshment tents were set up.
A Midas Pro6 console was set up for Darius Rucker, along with a Digidesign SC48 for Luke Bryan, and a Yamaha PM5D was shared by opening acts Jennette McCurdy and Troy Olsen.
After SES System Tech Preston Soper aligned the MLA, Subs, Front and Out fills,â€? explains Ferrit, â€œwe handed over the system to Billy â€œSquirrelâ€? Huelin to tune as needed.â€?
Asked about his first experience with MLA, Billy was enthusiastic: â€œIt went really well. First, it was great having Ferrit there. Heâ€™s a great guy to be around and very passionate about what he does. The situation was unusual in that we were down a street and the PA had to fire uphill along the slope of the street and thatâ€™s a challenge in and of itself.
â€œOne of the first things I noticed as I walked the audience area from left to right, was that there was just no dramatic falling off in the performance of the PA. In the old days, you had to hammer it down to get the sound up the hill, but I was really comfortable where I was knowing there wouldnâ€™t be a dramatic drop off at the top of the hill and there was no need for delays or that type of thing.â€?
Pressed for more specifics about MLAâ€™s audio quality, Billy added, â€œThe other thing I noticed in particular was that you donâ€™t have these harsh crossover points, which happens in traditional PA and line arrays where you get to that one crossover point and you end up with that harsh sound to it.
â€œIn terms of the overall performance of the system, the thing that struck me right away was how much Dariusâ€™ vocal jumped right out and how natural it sounded. The midrange really jumped but it wasnâ€™t really rude sounding, just powerful without being harsh. Overall, thereâ€™s a much smoother transition as you go from the low mids to the high mids.
â€œI try not to pass judgment on a system until Iâ€™ve used it several times because you have to hear it under different circumstances and in different settings,â€? Billy concludes. â€œUsing it for the first time, I donâ€™t know if anything else could have done as good or a better job, especially considering how much the weather changed during the day.
All of this is important to my job and what I do for Darius and his music, which mainly means the mix needs to be clean. Darius is not a howler or screamer, heâ€™s a genuine baritone, and thatâ€™s where you get burned making those transitions sometimes. And hearing how seamless this was turned out to be a big surprise.â€?
For more about Martin Audio and MLA, please click to www.martin-audio.com.