RMB Audio (Selma, NC) deployed Martin Audio MLA Compact arrays for the concert series at this year’s North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh at the Dorton Arena, serving a wide range of artists such as country stalwart Trace Adkins, Gospel performer Tamela Mann and Christian Rock’s Newsboys.
The arena offers a demanding acoustic environment, as RMB Audio systems engineer Roger Dennis points out: “It’s got everything you want: concrete, glass, steel, and hard wooden seats. Plus the arena’s an oval, so it’s reflections galore.”
The RMB team chose MLA Compact system to better control the sound in the hall and eliminate reflections. “The MLA Compact system allowed us to stop the coverage just before it hits the glass in the rear and on the sides of the room,” Dennis says. “The system’s output control is really precise. It made our job a lot easier while improving the sound quality for all of the acts and the audience.”
The system included main hangs with 12 MLA Compact enclosures per side, a side hang with eight MLA Compacts per side, and six Martin Audio W8LMD (down fill) as lip fill. Low end was provided by 12 DSX subs ground-stacked in two rows of six standing on end, with the two outer enclosures slightly angled out.
“It used to be when you had someone speaking into a microphone in the arena, the reflections would kill all speech intelligibility. With MLA, that’s not a problem,” Dennis says. “When we first brought it into Dorton three years ago it was quite a shock. Now that we’ve switched to MLA’s for outfill to kill the reflections coming off the glass, the clarity for spoken word has continued to improve dramatically.
“Everyone was pleased with the system,” he adds, “especially Newsboys front of house engineer John O’Neal who was very impressed with what we could do with the rig because he’s been in Dorton before with an older system. One of his last comments to me during this show was ‘everything from 300 Hz and above is completely clear. We could hear everything.’ John and I walked the entire venue during the sound check as did several engineers who put their head right next to the glass, and they said it sounded exactly the same as it did down at the mix position.”