The new apex multi-purpose venue in Bury St Edmunds, located in the county of Suffolk, England, and owned and operated by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, is now equipped with Martin Audio W8LM mini line arrays as part of its permanent technical infrastructure.
After the installation was completed last year by Northern Light, technical manager Tim Carr noticed that with an increasing number of amplified rock and folk concerts starting to appear on the upcoming program of events, a conventional left/right proscenium line array hang was required to bolster the existing speech system.
Several sound systems were proposed as potential solutions, but Carr already had prior experience with Martin Audio W8LM mini line arrays, brought in by locally based W1 Productions when they were sponsoring a local band night.
Since the venue was designed around two balcony levels, while the ground level can be easily reconfigured into a number of different performance arrangements, versatility and even coverage were paramount.
The ground floor seating is fixed to floating air-bearing wagons, and can be transferred to the basement via the pit lift for storage when not required; thus the venue can hold up to 650 (standing), 515 in raked (or flat floor) theater style seating, or operate in the round.
With the venue designed principally for classical concerts within a striking California oak shell, the apex can present acoustic challenges when the music is amplified.
“It is a very ‘live’ venue which we can tame using acoustic blinds,” Carr confirms. “I use these as baffles when folk or rock bands appear.”
The solution evolved by Carr and Stuart Turvill of W1 Productions was to install four W8L and two W8LM downfill boxes per side, with each hang supported by a pair of Martin Audio WMX hybrid bass bins.
Two pairs of wide dispersion Martin Audio ultra-compact Differential Dispersion DD6s, mounted high up on the lighting truss, act as overhang/underhang balcony fills.
The remaining pair of DD6s are floor-mounted and angled on the lip of the stage for front fills, alongside six Martin Audio LE1200 floor monitors that the performers use for reference sound.
The system is optimized using the dedicated DX2 loudspeaker management system, and Turvill is delighted with the result. “It was a no brainer to recommend the W8LM in view of the price and performance,” he says.
“We rarely get the opportunity to fly the WMX subs — but in this case the design fitted nicely with the venue and it improved the coverage. As for the DD6s, Tim came up with these and it was a brilliant suggestion as their wide dispersion characteristics provide the perfect solution,” Turvill adds. “A switch at the rear of the DD6 selects which cable pair drives the speaker, and the ability to switch between pins 1 and 2 without cables running everywhere is an extremely efficient solution. The speakers also sound very nice.”
“I always anticipated we would opt for the Martin Audio system,” summarizes Carr, “not just because of the attractive price but also the fact that having already heard the system I knew how much I liked it. It’s certainly proving to be very popular.”