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All Access keeps on truckin’ with Martin Audio MLA

The new All Access sound production consortium has created custom livery for one of its trucks to promote its newly-purchased MLA (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array) rig – and the Martin Audio brand as a whole.

The new All Access sound production consortium has created high impact custom livery for one of its trucks to promote its newly-purchased MLA (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array) rig – and the Martin Audio brand as a whole.

The special branding will also allow All Access to sub-rent the rig in conjunction with its own dedicated truck.

The concept was floated by one of the partners, Electra Service owner Roberto Buttarelli, and soon All Access was modifying an existing 16m semi (with 13.7m net space and a load capacity of 380 tonnes), which is purpose-designed to hold at least a 112-enclosure system (comprising MLA tops and MLX subs).

All Access received full support from Martin Audio’s Italian distributor, Audiosales, who financed the truck’s customisation. The new MLA semi will be based at Electra Service HQ in Viadana (MN) where all the audio components and accessories are warehoused (including the variable speed chain hoists by Lodestar JJ Varistar 30m/s, with automation and motion software control by Fulling & Partner GmbH).

Stefano Rocchi, owner of Audiosales, commented: “We knew the truck would be regularly travelling around Italy and have high visibility during the shows and festivals.”

The truck has already hit the road with Subsonica, as well as being seen at the Upper Park Festival in Bologna, Traffic Festival in Torino, and several Italian shows by Elton John, among other commitments.

In other recent MLA news, the much-discussed system made its Royal Albert Hall debut with sound rental company RG Jones at the latest round of Classical Spectaculars to be organised by musical impresario Raymond Gubbay.

For this particular son et lumière spectacle, FOH engineer Simon Honywill – a long-time Martin Audio system user – opted to use an MLA system comprising two front arrays of 16 boxes per side, with no downfill enclosures. Side hangs incorporated arrays of nine Martin Audio W8LM, with a single W8LMD underneath to bring coverage down as far as possible. In addition, a central sub-bass array of six WLXs was recessed under the stage apron, which was electronically curved to optimise coverage.

The system was set up by MLA-certified systems engineer Mark Edwards, with Martin Audio technical sales support representative Nigel Meddemmen serving as systems engineer for the four-day RAH stint.

Meddemmen conducted listening tests, walking the entire room to verify uniform sound balance. He commented: “The challenge was to try and match the warmth and smooth response of the MLA, a tricky task particularly on some of the operatic pieces with shrill soprano vocals which have a tendency to really show up deficiencies in the high frequency of a system.

“There are always subtle changes in the level at which the orchestra are playing and my role was to ensure that every member of the audience experienced the best possible sound regardless of where they were sitting, so I had to make subtle changes to level and EQ of some of the side and front fills. The MLA was essentially the reference; it didn’t need to be touched.”

The design software is critical in ensuring the best performance from the revolutionary MLA system. “The calculations were based on Simon’s model of the slice through the venue, and with the advantages of the new Display 2.1 software, Ambrose [Thompson, Martin Audio electroacoustic engineer] was able to design a system, with the correct splay angles, to provide optimum response.”

Honywill was delighted by the end-result of their labours. “I wanted to put MLA in the Albert Hall to see what it could do on a fairly demanding show, where to get the sonic quality and level required by the promoters you can’t afford for the system to be in any way obtrusive,” he said. “The system has to sound really sweet when loud, warm and powerful — and intelligent and delicate at the same time. MLA was all of these things and more.”