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DL Sound & Lighting Productions Gives Butchart Gardens Great Sounds for the Summer with HARMAN’s JBL VTX Line Arrays and Crown I-Tech HD Amplifiers

IMG_2366VICTORIA, Canada — Providing a sound reinforcement system to accommodate the growing audiences for The Butchart Gardens’ “Summer at the Gardens” concert series, DL Sound & Lighting Productions of Victoria has supplied HARMAN’s JBL VTX V20 line array loudspeakers and Crown I-Tech 4x3500HD amplifiers for two months of live performances.

Located near Victoria on Vancouver Island, The Butchart Gardens is a collection of floral gardens that receives almost a million visitors each year. For the past 12 years, DL Sound has provided the sound reinforcement system for The Butchart Gardens’ famed “Summer at the Gardens” series. This year’s performers included world-famous acts including Colin James and Pink Martini, with performances scheduled every night from June 15 to August 30.

“This year, The Butchart Gardens wanted to up the ante as far as the draw of its performing artists went, so they also needed an audio system that would meets the needs of larger crowds,” said Doug Lyngard, President of DL Sound. “They also wanted to be able to fly the PA system instead of ground-stacking, which they have done in the past.”

“The venue lends itself to great presentation for an artist, and this is a great venue for acts coming through the Victoria area,” said Paul Gatien, Live Sound Engineer for The Butchart Gardens. “For Colin James, we had an audience of 5,000 people, which was one of our largest events.”

The system at The Butchart Gardens includes a left-right hang of six V20 line array loudspeakers per side, powered with Crown I-Tech 4x3500HD amplifiers. Gatien also uses JBL HiQnet Performance Manager™ to monitor and control the system.

“I haven’t had any training on Performance Manager, so I’ve been figuring it out as we go, but it’s so intuitive that it’s been working great, and we’re doing really well with it,” Gatien noted.

When looking for a loudspeaker system for the summer season at The Butchart Gardens, Lyngard was attracted to the V20 for multiple reasons. “I really liked the sound of the V20, and the JBL name carries a solid reputation, so that also played a big factor,” he said. “Other factors like the easy rigging were important, as well as how easily the loudspeakers work with the Crown amplifiers and Performance Manager.”

“We’re really happy with the system,” Gatien added. “We do everything from symphony performances and jazz to classic rock and blues, and the VTX loudspeakers and Crown I-Tech HD amplifiers handle it all very well.”

While Summer at the Gardens provided the impetus for DL Sound to purchase the JBL VTX system, the company has big plans for it once the summer is over. “The V20 and I-Tech 4x3500HD raise our ability to compete for larger projects,” Lyngard said. “Now we’ll be able to provide sound for all the venues on Vancouver Island and in the Vancouver area and be able to fill most riders as well.”

For more information on DL Sound & Lighting Productions, please visit www.dlsound.net

For more information on The Butchart Gardens, please visit www.butchartgardens.com

HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets premier audio, visual, infotainment and integrated control solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets. With leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson ®, the Company is admired by audiophiles, musicians and the entertainment venues where they perform. More than 25 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of approximately 16,000 people across the Americas, Europe, and Asia and reported sales of $5.3 billion for the twelve months ended June 30, 2014.

3G Productions Supports Juan Gabriel With Martin Audio MLA

Photo: Robert Hacman

Photo: Robert Hacman

When Mexican singer/songwriter Juan Gabriel had to interrupt his U.S. “Volver 2014” tour for two weeks due to illness, his engineering staff prevailed upon 3G Productions to switch over to a Martin Audio MLA system for the remaining arena dates.

As 3G’s System Engineer Manny Perez describes the changeover, “The other system was working just fine, but Juan’s FOH Engineer Rodrigo Lopez had attended an MLA demo in Mexico and was really interested to see how it would perform.”

Gabriel, an internationally acclaimed Latin American musician who’s sold over 100 million albums, resumed the second leg of his sold-out tour at Miami’s American Airlines Arena, which presented some challenges of its own.

According to Perez, “As soon as I walked into the arena, their staff expressed concerns that they’d been having trouble covering the top rows of the nosebleed section for the last few shows and had to provide refunds. We assured them that we had it covered and the show would sound great everywhere. Then we put the MLA system up and tuned it really quickly even though it was a big rig designed to provide 270-degree coverage. Rodrigo, the band’s music consultant and I all walked the room from top to bottom and front to back, and there were absolutely no problems in terms of coverage and balanced sound.”

The 270-degree system for American Airlines Arena consisted of a main hang with 32 MLA and 4 MLD; side hangs with 36 MLA Compacts; a third hang with 24 MLA Compacts; 10 ground-stacked MLX subs, and 4 DD12s on the front of the stage for front-fill to the first six rows.

Photo: Robert Hacman

Photo: Robert Hacman

Describing the system in greater detail Manny points out, “The ratio of MLX to the rest of the system seems a bit light, but Rodrigo didn’t want a bass-heavy mix for the show because of all the acoustic instruments and high end frequencies. Also, we were using the new two-way DD12 powered speakers from Martin Audio for the first time and they’re really good. I would usually have to do a lot of cleaning up with EQ because they’re positioned so close to the subs, but they didn’t need a thing. The DD12s throw further than we needed them to and were more than perfect for what they had to do.”

The rest of the system consists of SSL and Avid Profile consoles for FOH and monitors, LM44 Lake processing, Smaart 7 software, Shure UFH-RD wireless and DPA microphones.

Asked about mixing on MLA, Rodrigo Lopez responds, “For me, it’s definitely the best speaker out there with more control of the sound and how it projects to the audience. The system provides the same amount of sound pressure and coverage from the front seat to the back with correct phasing throughout the arena.

“It’s been perfect for the tour,” Lopez continues. “The audience hears exactly what I’m getting out of the console. It’s challenging with Juan Gabriel because he’s playing with a lot of Mariachi and there are a lot of acoustic instruments that don’t have as much power. But with MLA, the audience can hear all of those instruments clearly, as if the musicians are playing right in front of them.”

Photo: Robert Hacman

Photo: Robert Hacman

Summing up, Perez adds, “I like the MLA’s clarity and imaging which is amazing when you pan the percussion and keyboards left to right. The speakers sound 30 feet wide where the sound moves across the space. The high end and high mids for vocals and snares are so clear; you can really hear the sizzle of the snare bottoms and high hats.

“A lot of people keep telling me how MLA is a really smooth, natural-sounding system that’s very satisfying to the ear. The staff and production crew, Juan’s musicians and his music consultant are stoked. Everybody really likes it which has been a real plus for the tour.”

Photo credit: Robert Hacman www.roberthacman.com

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.

ICONYX Saves The Day At St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church

Long Beach, MS – September 2014… Located steps from the sand on Mississippi’s scenic Gulf Coast, St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church has a rich association with the city and community. Its beachfront location also boasts something of an ominous history; on August 29, 2005, the eye of Hurricane Katrina passed just west of the church, bringing 20 foot swells, rendering the main sanctuary, and its sound system, unusable.

As part of St. Thomas’ restoration, the church reached out to Magnolia Music to design a new sound system. After an analysis of the room, Magnolia’s Tony Strong and Rain Jaudon recommended Renkus-Heniz ICONYX IC24-R-II digitally steerable line array loudspeaker systems.

“It was apparent to me that, with the aesthetics of the room and the high vaulted and beautiful wood ceiling, a traditional speaker approach would not be in keeping with the design,” said Strong. “A steerable array system using the Renkus-Heinz IC24Rs was the perfect solution.”

While all agreed on the steerable array, budget conscious church officials opted to look for ways to cut costs. “Someone at the diocese decided to take the preliminary designs and put them out to bid,” said Jaudon. “After some value engineering was done, the project was awarded to another integrator, and the new design called for a lower priced, digitally steerable array.”

The budget system was mounted 12 feet above the floor, but ultimately did not deliver the intelligible, high quality audio that was promised. Next, a new, more powerful point source line array system was installed, which also proved unsatisfactory. “With the second system, the folks right in front of the arrays were being blown away with sound and intelligibility was poor in the rear of the room,” said Strong.

Church officials once again reached out to Strong and Jaudin, and the consultants stood firm in their recommendation of the IC24Rs. “We demoed the IC24, and it was clear that we could cover the congregation evenly and consistently with the IC24Rs,” said Strong. “Just to show the accuracy of the steering, I purposefully aimed the beam over the first couple of pews to show the comparison to the passive line arrays installed.”

The speakers were mounted down-mic, just behind the pulpit and lectern – a placement that initially raised concerns about feedback from church officials. “All agreed that it was a better location aesthetically,” said Jaudon. “However, there was concern about the mounting location being upstage from the primary microphones. I assured them that, based on our experience with the ICONYX arrays, we would be able to steer the main lobes over the microphones successfully, and that turned out to be the case.”

Ultimately, the ICONYX system outperformed the previous two systems, proving that not all array systems are created equal, and that compromising quality to save costs can end up costing more in the long run.

“The bottom line of the story is that, with the ICONYX arrays, we selected the right tool for the job,” said Strong. “Someone tried to value engineer and save the church money by purchasing two different systems that did not perform. After six years and thousands spent on other systems, they purchased the right system for the job – the IC24Rs. Now, the ministers are free to do what they do best – minister – without having to deal with complaints about the sound system.”

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yamaha Audioversity – Applications Edition Headed to ChiTown

audioversity_logo

Buena Park, Calif.—Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. is heading to Chicago with an Applications Edition for Sound Reinforcement/Live Sound of the ever-popular Audioversity, November 3-5, 2014. The company has reformatted the learning experience for a limited time held over three days and consisting of three tracks, with each day focusing on a specific subject. Day 1 will focus on Digital Mixing Consoles for Sound, Day 2 – Digital Audio Networking, and Day 3 – Speaker Systems. Attendees will be eligible to receive CTS credits for each of the three-day sessions.

The Mixing Consoles track on Day 1 will focus on the latest in the Yamaha digital console family – CL and QL Series. Subjects will feature the essentials of the two series, mixing techniques, tips and tricks, and a mixing lab offering attendees hands-on time with assistance from our specialists. You may choose the CL or QL Series track depending on preference Learning material will be consistent in both tracks. A unique course for system techs covering Dante™ networking, Soundcheck Best Practices, Guest/User Management, and much more. For more information and to register, visit https://www.yamaha.com/ycas/training/registration.html?classdate_id=794&course_id=151.

Day 2 focuses on building networking skills applicable for audio engineers. The day will start with fundamentals in the context of a common home network, and expand into features required for full scale Dante™ network provisioning and configurations. Participants will learn by doing with live demonstrations and interactive labs. Popular and thought provoking topics include: Integrating Audio Networks with Existing IT Networks (Including WiFi points and Internet Access), Adding Dante™ to Existing Audio Networks (CobraNet®/EtherSound™), employing Dante™ as a clear, low-latency conferencing solution, using Dante™ for distributed audio or connecting overflow rooms, choosing network switches, WAPs, and other hardware for audio networks. For more information and to register, visit https://www.yamaha.com/ycas/training/registration.html?classdate_id=795&course_id=152.

Day 3 will feature speakers and systems including product listening demos, applications, and the latest in design software. New NEXO products – the GEO M6 Compact Sound Reinforcement System and the versatile STM M28 loudspeaker will be highlighted along with various STM ground-stack configurations. For more information and to register, visit https://www.yamaha.com/ycas/training/registration.html?classdate_id=796&course_id=153.

“Since its inception in 2010, the Audioversity Expo has provided complimentary education to thousands of audio professionals,” states Marc Lopez, Marketing Manager, Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. “This one-of-a-kind event is truly a unique offering unlike any other.”

Audioversity – Applications Edition is free-of-charge and open to members of the audio community. Attendance is limited and seats will be filled quickly so register for the tracks at the links above.

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About Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc.:
Yamaha Commercial Audio Systems, Inc. (YCAS) provides a full line of professional audio products offering complete systems solutions for the sound reinforcement, touring, broadcast, commercial recording, and post-production markets with a complete line of digital mixers, amplifiers, speakers, processors, networking capabilities, and NUAGE Advanced Production DAW System. YCAS is also the official North American distributor for NEXO speaker products. With the new CIS Series that includes ceiling and surface mount speakers, mixer and power amplifiers, and matrix processors, the Company furthers is commitment to their commercial installation solutions customers. All market sectors receive comprehensive in-house/field product training, a dedicated dealer network, and 24/7 technical support.

Zac Brown Band Headlines Wrigley Field With Martin Audio MLA


Chicago, IL––SES (Special Event Services) set up what President Jim Brammer terms as “the largest outdoor MLA system deployed in North America thus far” for a sold-out Zac Brown concert at Wrigley Field of 40,000.

The event also marked Zac Brown Band’s first as a solo headliner in a major league ballpark, having shared staging earlier this summer with Billy Joel at Boston’s Fenway Park. Both shows were part of the band’s successful “Great American Road Trip” tour that runs until the middle of October.

The massive Martin Audio MLA system consisted of 170 enclosures: A Main Hang of 22 MLA over 2 MLD per side; 24 MLA Compact per side for Outfill; 8 flown MLX subs per side and 24 MLX in 12 stacks of two across the entire downstage area; 4 MLA Compact in a straight array per side for Off Left/Right front fill; 6 W8LMD across the downstage edge for Lip Fill, and 24 MLA for delays.

Asked about the event, Brammer responds, “The challenge with Wrigley and most ballparks is getting sound up under the overhangs in the upper deck. We were able to solve that with a delay system that consisted of four SES audio carts, each with six MLA, arrayed at home plate, first and third base near the seats.”

In terms of audio quality, “the show was off-the-charts good,” Jim adds. “Everyone was extremely pleased and we had visiting major league ballparks to look at the MLA setup and see if they might be able to use it, and they were very happy with the way it sounded.

Tour Veteran Warren Cracknell from the SES Nashville office summed it up with one word, ”Outstanding!”

When asked what he thought, FOH Engineer/Production Manager Eric Roderick said, “It was Bad to the Bone!”

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.

Doha Airport is Covered with ICONYX as Far as the Eye Can’t See

Doha, Qatar – September 2014…. Hamad International Airport covers nearly a third of the city of Doha, with more than half of the airport’s. 29 sq km (11 sq miles) reclaimed from the Arabian Gulf. Its state-of-the-art passenger and cargo facilities will serve more than 30 million passengers and 1.4m tons of freight per year.

Technology for the airport is equally impressive, including an RFID baggage handling system, high-tech air traffic control and radar systems, and a cutting-edge public address system based around Renkus-Heinz ICONYX digitally steerable line array loudspeaker systems.

The system includes 208 IC8-R, 30 IC16-R, five IC24-R, and two IC32-R loudspeaker columns, all networked to provide individual control of each individual unit. Strikingly, not a single one of the 245 speaker columns installed throughout the facility is visible to the naked eye.

“All the loudspeakers are hidden,” explains Renkus-Heinz Middle East Sales Manager Norbert Bau. “They have all been flush mounted and concealed behind grilles, or they have been integrated into custom-designed stainless steel pillars. It’s an architecturally stunning facility and the best Iconyx installation I’ve ever seen.”

Much of the credit for this impressive installation goes to the contractors, Consolidated Engineering Systems Co (CESCO), and subcontractors H. Robert Guild Associates, Inc (HRGA). “The system was designed by Acoustic Design Ahnert (ADA Gulf), and the entire installation was performed by CESCO, who brought in Robert Guild of HRGA to provide the experience and expertise for this very high-profile project,” Bau observes. The project also included a massive IED announcement control system and thousands of small ceiling speakers for the voice alarm system. Testing and commissioning the system was performed by HRGA, with support from Renkus-Heinz application engineers.

While the project has not been without its challenges, Bau points to good planning as an indispensible factor. “The design of the sound system was seriously considered when designing the airport. And ADA Gulf convinced the architect to apply acoustic treatment so the acoustic conditions are very good – it sounds very dry.”

Since opening its doors to passengers, Hamad International Airport is quickly becoming an international hub, providing the air travel capacity the city of Doha has been sorely needing, with a sound system that will clearly and intelligibly serve millions of passengers for years to come. As Norbert Bau concludes, “it is an impressive system for a very impressive airport.”

 

 

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About Renkus-Heinz  - 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.

Martin Audio MLA Mini Lifts Spirits At IDC Church

Chicago, IL––Encompass AV recently installed a Martin Audio MLA Mini loudspeaker system at the Inspirational Deliverance Center Church of God in Christ as part of a major technical upgrade for its 500-seat worship center.

Tim Pickett, President of Encompass AV, explains that his company was chosen because “the church liked the fact that we could deliver a turnkey system with sound, lighting and a video network, the whole package.

“And they insisted on really good sound,” Tim adds. “The church has a very energetic Gospel choir and two Leslie cabinets hooked up to the Hammond organ that really push the audio system to the limits. Plus the worship center has highly reflective surfaces so they needed a system with exceptional output control.

“We specified several systems for them and they chose the Martin Audio MLA Mini because of the system’s state of the art technology and phenomenal sound quality. Also, the coverage had a nice tight pattern to it, and that was a huge selling point for MLA. In fact, we set up a demo and they liked it so much, they bought the demo units!”

The installed audio system includes two four-block MLA Mini arrays driven by MSX mini sub power plants. Two Martin Audio AQ8s provide additional fill with four C6.8T ceiling speakers installed in the low ceiling above the choir as monitors. Two Behringer S16 digital snakes supplement a Behringer X32 digital console with programmable MIDAS preamps.

There are three video displays in the sanctuary, two 80” Sharp LEDs left and right and a 70” Sharp LED facing the choir, with two Sony 1080P PTZ HD cameras driving the video network system. Lighting is provided by 60 Elation LED PAR-style lighting systems with six Elation LED architectural floods.

Asked about the MLA Mini’s performance, Tim enthuses, “I love it. The sound quality is amazing. Everybody that’s heard it comments on how crystal clear it is and the Church is ecstatic about the system.”

Rob Hofkamp, Martin Audio Director of North American Operations adds, “The MLA Compact has already made significant inroads in Church installations and the MLA Mini should also enjoy considerable success in the House of Worship market given its compact size, control and exceptional performance.”

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.

Iconyx Covers Serious Space at Eaton World Headquarters

Beachwood, OH – September 2014… Founded nearly a century ago as a small gear and axle manufacturer, Eaton Corporation has grown to become a global leader in power management, with more than 100,000 employees in 175 countries. The company recently opened its new world headquarters in this Cleveland suburb, a 580,000-square-foot office tower designed by architects Pickard-Chilton of New Haven, CT.

The building’s entrance encompasses a massive glass atrium soaring several stories high, creating a vast, open and naturally lit indoor space. More than just an impressive entryway, it’s a stunning architectural design that serves as a nexus for staff and guests to converge for everything from casual lunching to large-scale company events.

International AV consultants Electrosonic created the atrium’s focal point, a towering cylindrical LED display matrix “chandelier” that brings an ever-changing dynamic to the environment with imagery, information, and animations that can be seen throughout the space.

Audio and acoustical treatment was provided by Milford, CT-based SH Acoustics, the company behind such landmarks as Washington, DC’s Newseum, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Exploration Space, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ Daily Planet. As SH Acoustics President Steve Haas explains, the brief was to create an acoustical experience that would complement the stunning visual environment.

“It’s a very dynamic space — much more than just a lobby,” says Haas. “It’s often used to host both formal and informal events, sometimes attended by hundreds of people.”

Needless to say, the large, reflective environment presented its share of acoustical challenges. Says Haas, “it’s a very large, very live space, and no one really knew how all these different surfaces would work together. We worked with (integrators) Zenith Systems and the architects to design the audio system, enhance the acoustical treatment, and ensure that everything they were planning was done right.”

Anticipating that the atrium would become something of a multi-use space, Haas explains his team’s approach in designing the sound system. “We broke it down to several different categories,” he says. “The daytime experience is more of a casual, ambient environment, while the evening experience is typically an event or presentation, with the chandelier as a visual focus. We had to create an audio system that could provide complete and consistent coverage, as well as being flexible and reconfigurable for different types of events.”

The main system centers around Renkus-Heinz Iconyx IC7-II mechanically steerable line array loudspeakers. A total of eight IC7-II are implemented throughout the space, each with its own matching subwoofer, creating eight points of full-range sound. But as Haas explains, only two of the arrays are permanently mounted. “We’ve made six of them portable. The two permanently mounted units are great for providing light ambient music to fill the space. The others are on stands, and when they want to do a larger event, they just set them up, plug them in, and press a button from wherever they are in the space. That’s the magic of DSP — we’ve set up various configurations to work with a number of different types of events, different presentation positions, and other variables.”

“The key to the success of this system is in using very directional speakers, and placing them precisely,” observes Brian Yates, Project Coordinator with Zenith Systems. “Steve Haas recommended Iconyx because it’s an excellent speaker that throws well and has great directionality. He and his team spent several days working with us to calculate DSP and time alignment for each speaker, based on different possible scenarios of where in the space a presentation might be held.”

The trick, of course, is to achieve the impression of localized sound throughout the atrium, and to do so from whichever of several possible locations the presenter might select. “The Iconyx arrays are all calibrated to create an immersion in the middle of the atrium,” says Haas. “Using different time delays, we can make it sound like it is coming from one end or one side or wherever the speaker is located. The IC7s behave so well, even in challenging spaces, and that is a big part of what makes it work.”

“This was the first project we’d worked with Steve on, but we’ve worked with Iconyx on a number of projects, and agreed immediately it was a great solution,” says Yates. “It’s also got a nice, low profile, which makes it easy to blend them in with the architecture.”

“This has been a really unique and interesting project,” Haas concludes. “Holding events in an atrium isn’t all that new, but the type of multimedia events they’re doing in this space really does raise the bar. They are not just creating innovative content, they’re also figuring out how to be creative in delivering it in this space, with this medium. We’re really pleased with the results.”

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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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Steely Dan’s Pursuit of Perfection with MLA

Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Walter Becker and Donald Fagen took Steely Dan’s “Jamalot Ever After” tour across the U.S. and Canada this summer, with OSA International, Inc. providing Martin Audio’s Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) sound system.

Steely Dan has a reputation among audiophiles and throughout Pro Audio for their fastidious attention to sound production, so much so that many FOH engineers and system techs use a Steely Dan track to tune a system. When it comes to live sound, their expectations for the PA are no less demanding.

Returning to mix Steely Dan is Mark Dowdle, whose extensive credits include Elton John, Gloria Estefan, Fleetwood Mac, Tina Turner and Jackson Browne, to name just a few. Last year’s tour included a stop at Ravinia Festival in Chicago, where Dowdle mixed on two 7-box MLA arrays, the first year of a new OSA installation and the first new PA in a decade at North America’s oldest music festival.

Mark Dowdle

Late last year, Steely Dan’s road manager, tour sound icon Robert ‘Nitebob’ Czaykowski, introduced Walter Becker to MLA at a demonstration at New York’s Manhattan Center, where they were able to walk around and hear the evenness of its response and coverage. Steely Dan often plays theaters, where the mix position is usually at the back, beneath a balcony. “I go out there every day and listen to it; that’s part of my gig,” Czaykowski said. “What really knocks me out about MLA is that you can really control it so it’s not splattering off a back wall or cluttering up in the lower balcony.”

Present also at the NYC demo was Jim Risgin, Vice President for OSA –owners of the largest inventory of MLA in North America. With offices in Chicago, Las Vegas and now also Nashville, OSA have built an impressive reputation and client list providing complete technical services to some of the largest corporate, sporting events and concert tours in the U.S. The NYC demo was followed by extensive research from Mark Dowdle to confirm that the system would deliver the desired performance, and as a result Steely Dan added MLA to their tour.

Across the demanding 56-stop tour, MLA showed its versatility, control and overall sound performance credentials. Dowdle points out that the MLA provides extremely even front-to-back SPL as well as evenness of frequency response throughout the listening area. “The coverage is very smooth, especially its shading,” he said. “You can walk up on the PA in the front and it sounds just like it does in the back of the room.”

Dowdle also mentions an improvement to the stereo field. “Everything is more defined, so that automatically translates into the stereo field being more discernable,” he said. “MLA gives me dynamic range, clarity and definition so that I’m able to position and layer sounds in the stereo field which you can really hear where they all are.” He adds that the MLA’s sound is extremely coherent and is very responsive from a mixing standpoint. “You make a small fader move and it’s immediately noticeable.”

Furthermore, Dowdle is surprised by the constant comments from the audience. “I’ve been mixing for a long time and usually nobody ever says anything. This particular tour I’ve had more response from the audience than any tour I’ve ever done in my entire career, and it’s always been very positive and it’s always been very poignant. That’s in large part because of MLA allowing me to get it exactly how I want everywhere in the room.”

OSA crew chief and MLA system engineer Martyn ‘Ferrit’ Rowe is well known from his tenure at Martin Audio as an MLA product specialist before leaving to work for OSA as Director of Engineering. The Steely Dan tour travels in two trucks, carrying consoles and backline (including a Steinway grand) in one, and lights and PA in the second. “We’re carrying 26 MLA and 2 MLD down-fills, as well as 18 MLA Compacts, plus 8 MLX subs and 6 W8LMD used as front-fills,” Rowe explains.

The tour played Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena and New Orleans’ UNO Lakefront Arena using the 14-box MLA main arrays and 9-box MLA Compact side arrays that they carry. “The LA Forum was the only venue on our 56-show itinerary where we had to add PA,” said Mitchell Keller, Steely Dan’s production manager for the fourth year running. “It’s quite impressive that on a two truck tour we can carry enough PA to do arenas.”

The rest of the itinerary ranged from sheds and theaters to casinos. “The smallest venue was Humphrey’s in San Diego, putting in two subwoofers and ground stacking six MLA per side,” Rowe explains. “We recently did four shows in a row with single point hangs using ten MLA enclosures.”

As well as MLA’s flexibility and scalability, Rowe is keen to point out the simplicity of its operation. “It’s like fly by wire; you tell it what you want and the software produces a custom preset for your system and the room,” he said. “This isn’t auto EQ, you still have control over all the decisions that are being made, but the computer is doing the heavy lifting for you.”

So, coming full circle, what did Fagen and Becker make of the sound quality? According to Dowdle, “Both have come out into the audience on a number of occasions and have always been positive with their feedback and what was going on.

“More often than not Donald will come out and listen and frequently comments, ‘It sounds great,’ which is probably the highest compliment that I could ever receive in my career.”

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

Satin Sound Deploys Martin Audio For Lady Antebellum Concert

Satin Sound Systems, Inc. recently supported a sold out concert by Lady Antebellum with Martin Audio at the First Niagara Pavilion outdoor amphitheater in Burgettstown, PA during the band’s “Take Me Downtown” tour in support of their album, Golden.

Formed eight years ago in Nashville, Lady Antebellum is made up of Hillary Scott (lead and background vocals), Charles Kelley (lead and background vocals, guitar) and Dave Haywood (lead and background vocals, guitar, piano, mandolin).

The successful country trio has recorded five albums (Lady Antebellum, Need You Now, Own the Night, On This Winter’s Night and Golden), winning a substantial number of Grammy, CMT, CMA and Billboard Awards along the way.

For the show at Niagara Pavilion which has a 23,000 seat capacity, Satin Sound rigged a Martin Sound system consisting of 24 W8L Longbow enclosures for the main hangs, 24 W8LC speakers for the outfills, and 20 WSXA subs. Amplification included Lab Gruppen FP 7000 for the Longbows, PLM 10000Q for the W8LCs and Powersoft K10s for the WSXA subs.

The crew for the show consisted of Brett “Scoop” Blanden (FOH Engineer), Peter Bowman (Monitor Engineer), and John A Durisko and Bill Lowery (Systems Techs).

Asked why they chose Martin Audio, Satin Sound’s Durisko said, “The Martin Audio W8L Longbow/W8LC system gave us great coverage with seamless transition between the main and outfill cabinets. The Longbow rig is incredibly powerful and very musical, and we received many compliments throughout the evening.”

For more about Martin Audio, please click 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.

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