This year’s Grito de Independencia (Mexican Independence Day, on September 15) was able to resume again in front of an audience at the Zócalo in the center of Mexico City after two years of being held remotely due to the pandemic, with sound reinforcement for the more than 160,000 in attendance delivered by production company KW deploying Martin Audio loudspeakers as the main PA to cover a site measuring 46,800 square meters.
For the presidential protocol, four clusters of MLA were designated, one pair with 11 MLA plus an MLD Downfill and a further pair of outhangs with eight cabinets and an MLD (providing 120°H x 20°V dispersion). The main hangs covered a distance of 150 meters and the lateral clusters 130 meters.
On monitors and sidefills were Blackline F10+ and WPM series serving both the Mexican Army Chorus and the speech delivered by the president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador. For the chorus’s monitoring the four Blackline F10+ were fed from iK42 amps and for the presidential monitoring, four WPM per side, in stereo format, were set in the presidential box.
An independent system was set up for the headliner, popular Norteño group Los Tigres del Norte, comprising 32 WPL for PA (16 per side) with 32 further WPL for outfills (16 per side) and 24 SXH218 subwoofers, plus 24 MLX set in a gradient. Eight WPM (in four stacks of two) were detailed as front fills. The main system covered the first 135 meters, while four delay towers comprising eight MLA each were set at 90 meters to cover the back of the Zócalo and surrounding streets. Two further delay towers were placed 200 meters from the PA, with 12 WPC elements.
Carlos Aldama, audio design engineer for Martin Audio distributor Proaudio LATAM, explains, “In this way and with the help of the iK42’s internal DSP processing and the internal DSP of the MLX, it was possible to make a configuration where the stage area and all the low frequency energy was removed from the side of the attendees.”
The band’s front of house sound engineer, Grammy Award-winning Gabriel Martínez, notes that having been a fan of MLA he was also pleasantly surprised by the acoustic performance of WPL. “Martin Audio is always a guarantee,” he states. “I was impressed by the sound pressure we had at almost 100 meters and the audio design for the show in general. I had already worked with WPL previously in Orizaba and Morelia but the difference in adjustment and alignment here gave an additional image as if it were another system. This system delivers the result that any engineer is looking for in terms of audio quality, power output, control and design.”
The two systems could not be used simultaneously, since the main stages were adjacent to each other. For the ceremonial presentation, the PA was placed at the National Palace and for the concert, it was placed in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral, with the sound directed towards the government building.
“For Proactive LATAM, representing Martin Audio, it was important to be chosen again, and recognized for our commitment of support,” states company founder and CEO Berenice Gutiérrez. “In addition, we were honored to be trusted, not only by the production manager of Los Tigres del Norte, Luis Antonio V, but also by the managing director of KW to create an audio design that would allow them to be comfortable. We should also give a special mention to KW for their overall production coordination, which was a huge challenge.”
Oscar Tovar, Proactive LATAM technical sales engineer for the region, adds, “For the third time, all the equipment used was from Martin Audio, and once again great results were achieved. Returning to the traditional format again this year we were able to integrate two areas, to serve both the Government protocol and the concert.
“It was a big challenge but fortunately everything went as planned, since this is the most important event in the country, commanded by the Mexican president. It was great that more than 160,000 people were able to assemble at the Zócalo and receive the same high-quality experience, and that we had the time and sufficient tools to ensure that it happened.”
Aldama concludes, “The incredible result we delivered with Martin Audio, was down to the precision with which the DISPLAY 3 software functions, since the results obtained were practically identical to the prediction. The intelligibility of the equipment was amazing.”