Marketing sales and software giant HubSpot recently held its INBOUND 2015 Conference at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, with sound reinforcement delivered with Martin Audio MLA provided by Alford Media of Dallas, TX.
Presentations for the 4-day event actually took place in two of the exhibit halls, a large space measuring approximately 400 feet deep by 400 feet wide and 100 feet tall. Complicating the space is a large glass wall in the middle of the room, coming down to about 40 feet above ground.
The basic problem in this room prior to treatment, according to Steve Ellis, FOH/system engineer for Alford Media, was “the space lacked intelligibility because the low frequencies had such a long decay time of just under 11 seconds at 100 Hz. When someone said something through the PA, it could still be heard 10 seconds later, which just added up to a ‘wash of sound’.”
The stage was a round thrust design at one end of the room connected by its upstage section, extending into the audience on three sides. Given the implicit challenges presented by the size of the room, less than ideal acoustics and a partial glass wall coming down into the space, Alford chose to rig the MLA system in a half-round configuration around the stage, with five hangs of nine MLA and one MLD each trimmed about 50 feet to the top of the array.
“The center cluster consisted of three hangs of nine MLA and one MLD, with the center hang directed straight into the house and the left/right 45 degrees off-axis,” Ellis explains. “Complementing the center cluster was an additional pair of hangs off stage HL&R, pointed to the sides of the room.
The seating around the stage was in a half-round configuration, covered by a pair of eight MLA Compacts HL&R trimmed at about 45 feet, with 10 DSX subs per side in broadside arrays. In addition, there were five MLA Mini ground-stacked on each side of the stage with one MSX sub each for front fill. Two sets of three pole-mounted MLA Mini were used off stage L&R with another MLX beyond the subs to help fill out the sound as well. The boxes were networked with four Merlin processors.
“We had intentions of deploying 12 Martin Audio DD6 speakers for front fill and foldback onstage, but the client didn’t want them visible,” Ellis adds. “So we utilized the mounting options for the DD6 and attached all of them to the legs of the stage and were able to control the pattern using the rotatable horns in the boxes. This way, we got the coverage we wanted while keeping a clean looking stage for the client.”
To achieve adequate coverage on the other side of the large glass wall, 64 MLA Compact enclosures were hung for delays, configured as two rows of four hangs, each with eight Compact modules.
“The MLA system helped solve the problem by rejecting the sound above and below the PA, which made the stage and surrounding area super quiet,” he says. “It wasn’t blasting a bunch of noise in the ceiling that would keep coming back down and contributing to the long decay times. MLA does a really good job of putting the sound where it needs to go and not spilling it into other places. We had no problems handling the presenters, performers, panels and onstage interviews.
Steven Pollema, front of house engineer from CG Creative Studios in Amsterdam, notes, “I never worked with MLA before, but the results were impressive. The amount of spilled energy to the back was a lot less than I imagined and helped us a lot in getting the gain-before- feedback we needed for this particular show. The reverb time for this venue was, after acoustical treatment, still an impressive six to seven seconds.
“With MLA we could focus on the audience in such a way that no other product can. The results were obvious; a great sounding system, good imaging and the least amount of room reverberation possible without more acoustical draping.”