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Archive for July 14th, 2014

Martin Audio MLA™ Breaks Record At Glastonbury

Martin Audio’s groundbreaking Multi-Cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) system has made Glastonbury history by delivering the highest sound levels to the audience without exceeding noise pollution levels beyond the perimeter.

Making its Glastonbury debut, the system deployed on the Pyramid Stage was impressive in every respect, employing cabinets from the entire MLA™ range of loudspeakers. This comprised a total of 72 MLA for the main hangs, eight MLA Compact for stereo infill at the pit barrier and four delay positions of 14 MLA each. The latest addition to the range, the MLA Mini was also featured, providing stereo infill behind the FOH control structure and onstage coverage of artists’ guest viewing platforms. A massive broadside array of 38 MLX stretched across the entire width of the stage to provide sub-bass support to the entire system.

The company’s unique MLA technology enables very fine control of how each array covers its designated audience area. Their own amplifier and DSP channel, a total of six in each MLA independently control acoustic cells housed within each cabinet. This control allowed RG Jones system engineer Mark Edwards to specify exactly what SPL and frequency response was required across the audience, with the intelligent software automatically controlling the array to produce that result. This amounted to just a 6dB drop off over the 985 ft. long audience area, with incredibly even frequency response.

“We used our proprietary computer software to figure out how to drive each cell in each array to direct sound just at the audience, and then cut it off sharply just beyond the audience to dramatically reduce noise pollution,” says Martin Audio’s R&D Director Jason Baird. “As a result, headliners including Arcade Fire and Metallica could play at 104-105dBA – this is the first time such high levels have been achieved in the history of Glastonbury as noise limits are really strict.”

More than 150,000 fans listened to headline acts Metallica, Arcade Fire, and Kasabian, as well as The 1975, Elbow, Rudimental, Nitin Sawhney, and Dolly Parton, mixed on the MLA system.

Having persuaded the festival production in 2007 that RG Jones Sound Engineering was the right company to run audio services on the Pyramid Stage, Simon Honywill said, “I believed that MLA was the right system for the Pyramid since I first heard its extraordinary fidelity and learned about its unique abilities. Having used it at the past two Glastonbury Abbey shows, it was natural to suggest to Dick Tee and his team that it should take its rightful place on this iconic stage. I think it has more than proved itself here – I spent a considerable amount of time out in the audience and have never heard the field covered so well. And people in the crowd were openly complimentary about the volume and clarity too.”

There was also effervescent praise from the stream of FOH engineers over the weekend.

One of the biggest draws of the weekend was Metallica, engineered by Mick Hughes: “MLA is a new system to me, a new experience. I was surprised how easy it was to get the mix I wanted out of it. When I first used it I thought ‘whoa’ there’s some serious horsepower here. It just sounded really alive; I wouldn’t shy away from using it again.”

One of the most enigmatic performances was from Lana Del Ray, engineered by Max Bisgrove: “In half a song, I could get out what I needed from the MLA system. Great clarity, great power, it’s by far my favorite Glastonbury mixing experience so far.”

Dave McEwan, FOH sound engineer for Nitin Sawhney, remarked: “Glastonbury was the first time I’ve used the big MLA, and I’m really impressed – great imaging, 3D, even 4D sound. You can dive in and enjoy, it’s another sort of PA! I’m hoping to use this at the Royal Albert Hall for Nitin in September. I love it; it’s a great product, a super sounding system, lush and hi-fi, with lots of depth.”

The 1975’s engineer, Jamie McLuckie, adds: “At some festivals you have to tweak the bottom end, but MLA was nice and easy. The system sounded fat, with nice clarity and nice high end too. I couldn’t really fault it.”

For John Carroll, MD of RG Jones Sound Engineering, Glastonbury has been the affirmation of what he’s known for some time: “Martin Audio’s MLA is the next generation and there’s nothing out there to match it. Our continued support from Martin Audio is second to none.”

Summing up, Jason Baird says: “It was my career highlight back in 2008 working on our very first Glastonbury, but with MLA this year, it’s been topped. To see the massive audiences in complete unison front to back enjoying the performances, combined with the constant stream of smiling faces at FOH, it’s been the showcase for everything that Martin Audio and MLA stands for.”

For more about Martin Audio, please click to www.martin-audio.com.

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.

New Tobin Center for the Performing Arts Chooses Robert Juliat Followspots

When San Antonio’s Tobin Center for the Performing Arts opens in September, its H-E-B Performance Hall and Alvarez Family Studio Theater will boast Robert Juliat Cyrano and Buxie followspots, respectively.

The new Tobin Center rises behind the façade of the former San Antonio Municipal Auditorium along the famed River Walk downtown. The 1,750-seat multi-purpose house will be the home of the San Antonio Symphony and other resident companies; its inaugural 2014-15 season will feature such diverse performers as comedy legend Bill Cosby, radio icon Garrison Keillor and “The Prairie Home Companion” and the Scottish Ballet’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire.”

The four-level H-E-B Performance Hall is the largest of the Tobin Center’s performance spaces; it has installed four Cyrano 2500W HMI followspots whose narrow beam angle makes them the perfect fixture for long throw distances. The Alvarez Family Studio Theater is a black box-style space with multiple seating arrangements; it has acquired a pair of Buxie 575W MSD ultra-compact followspots, which deliver a powerful punch in a small package.

Technical Director Stefan De Wilde was familiar with Robert Juliat followspots from his tenures with Disney and Cirque du Soleil. DeWilde confidently selected the followspots, stating that Robert Juliat followspots “were the industry standard for top-of-the-line fixtures,” he says. “They were the most flexible, light-weight units with high output and extremely high quality. The Tobin Center is booked through 2017 so these lights will get a lot of use. We need products that will hold up under a lot of use and still provide a beautiful, powerful output of light.”

The Cyranos were an ideal choice for the large H-E-B Performance Hall. “We needed a long throw, flicker-free unit since we will accommodate broadcast level television production,” notes De Wilde. “The design was also important. The Cyrano’s color changer is mounted on the center of the fixture, which is more ergonomic for the operator, and the fixture is balanced.”

Likewise, the compact Buxies were a good fit for the Alvarez Family Studio Theater because of their “small footprint, great output and quiet operation,” he reports. “This is a small theater. I can mount the Buxies on a tripod, put them in a spot tower or clamp them to the catwalk railing. They have beautiful optics and will last a long time thanks to their high-quality construction.”

The Robert Juliat followspots were obtained from the Texas Scenic Co.

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New RH Series from Renkus-Heinz Opens at Merriam School Of Music

Oakville, ON – July 2014… When Allan Merriam committed to building an auditorium for the students of Merriam School of Music, he took the same approach he’s taken over his lengthy career – no compromise. Long heralded as a visionary in music education, Merriam’s eponymous school is renowned for its educational integrity across all disciplines, ages, skill levels, and instruments.

Merriam’s vision for the school’s new production and performance facilities led him to acclaimed recording studio designer Martin Pilchner of Toronto-based Pilchner-Schoustal International Inc. PSII was commissioned to design a fully integrated live performance hall coupled with a professional level recording studio. The 100-seat,1400 SF auditorium is located directly above the recording studio space in the basement.

Audio for the room was provided by Contact Distribution, the Canadian distributor for Renkus-Heinz. ”Martin and I have worked on a number of projects in the past, and he’s become a fan of the tight, consistent coverage patterns of Renkus-Heinz systems,” explains Contact Distribution’s Bill Coons. The facility became one of the first to install the new RH Series, a new custom designed two-way point source system featuring a dual wedge angle design and a range of highly versatile rigging options.

“Bill suggested the signature series RH123, and they turned out to be exactly what we needed in the way of coverage, physical size and price point,” states Martin Pilchner. “They offer great dynamic range, and they’re self-powered so they were easy to integrate.” A pair of PN212-SUB dual 12-inch subwoofers covers low frequency content. “The PN212 subs were also a perfect match for the room — small enough to fit under a low profile stage, but plenty of headroom.”

Pilchner reports the system exceeded expectations. “We knew they would sound good but we were somewhat surprised by just how good,” he says. “The co-entrant HF/MF drivers delivered full range sound and consistent coverage all the way to the very back of the room.” Onstage monitoring is handled by CF121M-2 powered monitor wedges.

Allan Merriam adds, “When you put a focused and committed performer thru quality product, the talent and passion don’t get lost in the technology. The Renkus-Heinz system gives us the clarity and audiophile experience we were looking for. We really have the best sounding small scale performance space in the city.”

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Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.

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