Manchester’s iconic Dry Bar, a landmark of the city’s trendy Northern Quarter since 1989, recently underwent an interior upgrade in the bar and its newly refurbished basement music venue Dry Live.
Situated below the bar, the venue has been completely refurbished with a black and grey interior and new Martin Audio loudspeakers.
Tasked with equipping the new Dry Live, local audio specialists Masons and the company’s system design engineer Jack Jennings chose a Martin Audio Blackline H3H+ horn-loaded solution as the best fit for the applications.
The basement space had previously been split into several small rooms but the floor had opened out into one large venue so the downstairs space could be used for both live music and club events served by a single sound system.
The venue operators had stipulated that they wanted the audience to be able to get as close to the front of the stage as possible, while still having the desired system—“one that can offer all the punch and growl that you’d ever need”—a sound suited for both band and club events. Unfortunately, faced with ceiling height restrictions, the drop-height excluded the use of arrays or standard ‘portrait’ profile speakers.
This presented Jennings with a problem. Conventional floor-standing stacks on either side of the stage would be impractical if they needed dismantling, storing and reassembling for certain events. “The system needed to have no permanent footprint on the floor and be flown as high as possible, out of the way when not in use,” he said.
Thus with the intended mixed use of the venue, requiring dynamic and even coverage for a number of different scenarios, Jennings concluded that the low-profile H3H+ midrange would deliver high-quality instrument and vocal reproduction.
“The Martin Audio H3H+ full-range 3-way speaker fit the bill perfectly,” he says. “Its horizontal format, high power handling, high output levels and 70- x 40-degree dispersion characteristics all leant themselves to this install.”
Jennings specified four H3H+ enclosures lined up across the front of the stage area. The central two are mounted tight against the ceiling and tilted slightly down to achieve nearfield audience coverage, while the outer two are mounted slightly forward and below, on steel joists either side of the stage.
The crisp high-frequency output needed to be matched by powerful sub-bass and give club promoters the sense of aural immersion they desire, despite operating as a stage-focused system rather than a traditional dance floor surround.
This is provided by four Martin Audio WS218X double 18-inch direct-radiating subs, two each on either side of the stage, fitted with castors so they can be easily removed when required and wheeled into a storage area.
The entire system is powered from just a 4U rack — containing a dedicated Martin Audio DX1.5 2 in 6 out digital controller and three Martin Audio MA switch-mode amplifiers.
“This elegant set-up provides huge amounts of power and reliability and allows the venue to operate the system without fear of any technical issues,” concludes Jennings.
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.