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Take That capitalise on Martin Audio system

Capital Sound is providing a huge inventory of Martin Audio line array enclosures for Take That’s Progress Live 2011 stadium tour, writes Paul Watson.

Capital Sound is the audio provider for the hugely anticipated Take That Progress Live 2011 stadium tour, which kicked off on May 27th at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light. The rental company is providing a massive inventory of Martin Audio W8LC Compact Line Array boxes to achieve production manager Chris Vaughan’s radical new delay sound concept. After being awarded the contract for the tour last December, Capital Sound implemented Vaughan’s idea, which stemmed from his concern about the growing height and bulk of delay masts in front of arena and stadium stands, which leads to restricted audience sightlines. Capital Sound’s account manager Martin Connolly first started working on the system at the beginning of last year when Vaughan stated that he wanted a better solution, and Ian Colville, in conjunction with Al Woods, came up with a design that is now known as the ring system. “Varying quantities of W8LC will be hung on the roofs of most stadia, while at venues like Manchester there will be four groundstacks of W8LCs mounted on 2.5-metre high Steeldeck,” Connolly explains. “The W8LC is perfect because you can create a lot of uptilt on it — in fact, when we did A-ha, it was evident that the W8LC had an advantage over even newer cabinets on the market.” Eight hangs of between six and eight W8LC elements form the perimeter ring systems, which are flown from the stadium roof; and the core system comprises a total of 88 W8LCs, with additional W8LCDs for the downfills. The exception will be at Wembley Stadium where there will be a massive 132 W8LCs and four W8LCDs. This will include four field delays, with 36 speakers spread across four 12-metre masts. The W8LCs complement the main W8L Longbow stage system, which is a standard L/R configuration consisting of 12 flown W8Ls and two W8LD downfills per side; and 12 flown W8LS subs per side. In addition, there are side hangs of 16 W8L-Longbows and two W8LD downfills per side; and 32 WS218X ground subs (16 per side). A further 16 Martin Audio W8LM Mini Line Arrays are being used as lip fills and outfills. Power is supplied by two specially designed amp set-ups, each comprising ten 6-way racks, which will be sited depending on venue access and will be positioned at various locations, from players’ tunnels to being flown up on the roof.

Capital Sound also invested in an Optocore optical fibre system for the first time to allow for greater flexibility and maximum signal transport. Connolly says he first considered a copper based AES3 signal distribution system, but due to the distances involved as well as the need for electrical isolation, optical was the only way forwards, so he opted for eight X6R-FX converters. The Progress Live 2011 tour will run until the end of July and will include stints at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium, City of Manchester Stadium, Glasgow’s Hampden Park, Villa Park, and London’s Wembley Stadium, before hitting stadia in Italy, Denmark, Holland and Germany.