New England audio production company Paddle Out Productions is in the middle of a 16-week contract at the Cheshire Fairgrounds drive-in music venue – a large open field that accommodates up to 425 cars parked in every other space – hosting live performances that are reinforced by Paddle Out’s recently expanded Martin Audio WPM system.
Ryan Burhans of Paddle Out notes that in a space like Cheshire Fairground, sound quality and audience coverage were his top priorities. “I was nervous with the size of the field that we weren’t going to fill those ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ shoes that are expected now and again,” he explains. “For example, we had a louder band, Blue Oyster Cult, who were due to perform and I was worried if we would hit the right SPL the guys were expecting. But we were cruising from the beginning.”
Paddle Out has equipped the venue with 12 Martin Audio WPM array modules per side powered by two iKON amplifiers using a two-box resolution for the main PA. In addition, W8LM modules are flown via delay towers at around 250 feet, of the 650-foot-long field. “All our concerts right now are long-throw because of the cars and spacing but we nailed it with two amps for the whole PA, 12 per side, and we were rockin’,” says Burhans.
Having originally bought 16 WPM cabinets, Burhans was impressed enough with the quality pf the system that he committed to purchasing an extra eight: “Because originally I only had eight per side, those extras have been awesome for this event. We almost didn’t need the delay tower. Their sight lines are all clean, and they are super speech friendly because the clarity is so clean.
“I would have liked to have gone to one box and that is where we were at with the 16 boxes, but it was nice to be able to know that I could add more speakers without buying more amps,” Burhans concludes. This flexibility was key to the company’s initial purchase of WPM. “It can be pulled apart into smaller systems. You can still work big without having a lot of big cases to move around.”