July 30, 2012, by PSW Staff
After an intensive market evaluation of well over a year, British rental company Capital Sound has made a significant investment in Martin Audio’s Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA).
Confirming the purchase of a large arena system (and complementary MLX subs), Capital Sound general manager Paul Timmins states that the inventory upgrade is designed to future proof the company—who number Take That, The Killers and Stereophonics among their regular accounts—for the foreseeable future.
“In the modern era it is no longer a case of buying a system simply because we’ve been associated with the same brand for 25 years,” he adds. “We reviewed and demoed every major market system, but in the end it was vital that we backed ‘second generation’ technology. And however good the other systems were, only the MLA offered us this, with the right size and weight package.”
Technical manager Ian Colville agrees. “From a technical standpoint MLA quite simply is the next generation. Unlike line arrays, MLA calculates and controls each individual transducer throughout the array to create a uniform sound field across the length and breadth of the audience area.
“Parameters that have traditionally been difficult to predict and control—SPL variation, frequency response and coverage cut-off—can be accurately defined in the prediction software and re-calculated, if necessary, ‘on the fly’.”
He adds that having spoken to technicians and engineers that had used MLA extensively the verdict so far had been unanimous: “MLA is very accurate, very responsive and very very loud.”
Sheer power was one criterion that Capital Sound had examined closely during the review period. Conclusive proof that this was a stadium system was provided in a shoot out against the Martin Audio Longbow system outdoors at Silverstone.
Having been the first company in the world to use MLA (beta-testing with Enter Shikari at HMV Hammersmith Apollo in 2010), Capital Sound was able to assess its coverage and cut-off parameters during last summer’s outdoor season (at LED Festival), its speech and intelligibility on a comedy show at O2 Arena, and its ability to deliver high octane sound in smaller venues (with Whitesnake).
Other factors also played a part in the decision-making. The arrival of Andy Davies, mirroring the appointment of Jim Jorgensen at Martin Audio in the U.S., provided the company with real application support in the touring sector, while Capital Sound felt confident that a global community of users was rapidly building.
The final factor that drove the purchase was simple touring economics; with the fully powered and processed system not only eliminating the need for separate amp racks, but also, in many cases, delay speakers, truck space becomes more efficient.
Concludes Martin Audio sales director Simon Bull, “As one of our longest-serving partners, we are delighted that Capital Sound have joined our growing community of MLA users. The fact that they carried out such an exhaustive review of other market leaders’ systems before reaching their decision makes the sale all the sweeter.”
Capital Sound has already earmarked the new MLA system for a major global arena tour, beginning this fall.