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Amsterdam‘s Milky Way Extends With Martin Audio

Martin Audio has extended its long relationship with one of Amsterdam‘s most famous music venues, the Melkweg (Milky Way).

For many years the legendary rock club, born out of the 1960‘s flower power era, featured one of Martin Audio‘s pioneering Wavefront 8 systems. But after a stringent multi-system evaluation earlier this year, the club opted to upgrade to a 3-way Martin Audio W8LM Line Array solution in their main “MAX Room.”

The venue‘s senior sound engineer Joost Evers revealed that there were two main reasons for keeping faith with Martin Audio: “the quality of the sound, and our long relationship with their distributors, TM Audio”. This he knew would not only provide the venue with guaranteed service, “but the confidence that we were buying the best equipment, with the correct system set-up.”

But TM Audio project manager Jaap Pronk admits that prior to commissioning much experimentation with the system design and expert fine-tuning were required to achieve optimum effect. For the latter he turned to one of Holland‘s most accomplished sound engineers and system designers, Hugo Scholten.

The change in approach was caused by the fact that part of the venue‘s renovation at the beginning of the year, involved removing the back wall and extending the depth of the room by 10 meters to increase its capacity to 1500. Increasing the stage depth to 6 meters and repositioning it under a ceiling–which had now increased to a height of 5 meters to accommodate a lighting bridge–had a profound effect on the acoustics.

“Since the stage is hollow, it was also acting as a bass resonator when we ground-stacked the WMX subs,” declared Pronk.

Instead he proposed that six WMX subs be flown from each side of the stage–alongside ten W8LM (and W8LMD Downfill) clusters–with the sub frequencies steered by the three Martin Audio MA4.8 amplifiers to which they are assigned. At the same time careful optimization of the mid-highs was required since the W8LM‘s now had to fire even further down this narrow elongated rectangular room.

The system was set up using Martin Audio‘s proprietary DISPLAY™ and ViewPoint™ software and fine-tuned by Hugo Scholten.

Explaining the rationale behind the design, Jaap Pronk says, “While the requirement was to create coverage that was as wide as possible, providing even coverage in front of the stage was also paramount.” This was achieved by simply placing a W8LMD at the bottom of each array — giving a 140° spread. Since the W8LM/LMD arrays are mounted on a track, these can be re-angled and retracted when the adjustable stage is used in its smaller configuration.

The Martin Audio installation–boosted by new S218/W8C sidefills–forms the centerpiece of a complete new cabling infrastructure that includes stage, monitor and system EQ patching, with integrated matrix mixing (offering tie lines to the Melkweg‘s recording studio), and transformer-based channel splitting to FOH, monitors, recording studio and broadcast trucks. The wiring architecture was designed by TM Audio and Ampco/Flashlight Group sister company, Engine.

Joost Evers and the venue‘s chief sound and light engineer, Dirk de Vries, now have consistent coverage across the floor and up to the small balcony–a system with the ability to deliver the renowned Martin Audio punch and also display all the transparent properties that make it so versatile. This is precisely what the Melkweg needs for the vast range of shows it promotes, and no matter which way the 1m x 2m modular stage sections are configured, the Martin Audio PA can be repositioned accordingly, with the correct system settings enabled.

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December 2007
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