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Martin Audio MLA tops 100dB(A) at Invictus Games closing concert

The Capital Sound-fielded hit the FOH SPLs demanded by headliners Foo Fighters at games for wounded servicemen

The weekend of 14 September was the busiest of the year for Martin Audio’s Multicellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) system, with no fewer than 170 enclosures fielded by Capital Sound at the Proms in the Park concert in Hyde Park, west London, and a starring role at the Invictus Games closing concert at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the east of the city.

The latter combined medallion presentations to the wounded, injured and sick British servicemen and women who competed with a speech by games organiser Prince Harry and a full concert line-up featuring Foo Fighters, Kaiser Chiefs (pictured below right), Ellie Goulding, Ryan Adams, Bryan Adams, The Vamps, Rizzle Kicks and James Blunt.

The event was promoted by AEG Live, with Capital working for site manager Loudsound, with which it has enjoyed a long working relationship (most recently at British Summer Time in Hyde Park).

But unlike at Hyde Park, where sound leakage is at its most sensitive, Martin Audio says “there was optimism MLA would be able to show off an even bigger sound” at the Invictus Games ceremony. “This was a totally new situation and the promoters were keen to see what we could get out of it sound-wise,” adds Paul Timmins, Capital Sound account manager. “[Loudsound site production manager] Dan Craig really understands audio, and was confident he could achieve proper rock and roll levels.”

Despite the closest residence being within 250m of the stage (and noise measurement consultant Vanguardia measuring propagation at four separate offsite locations), the production team was able to hit the FOH SPLs demanded by Foo Fighters, playing at over 100dB(A) as the level ramped up incrementally through the day. At the same time, Martin Audio reports, the sound “comfortably” tapered off below the offsite restriction of 75dB(A) at the nearest measurement point, and recorded values as low as the mid-60s.

The main front-facing PA comprised two hangs of 14 MLA per side and two MLD downfills, while for sidefills, because of the site topography, Capital fielded 12 MLA Compacts on one flank and 16 on the other — an asymmetric solution it says worked particularly well. This enabled the shorter hang to fire into the VIP grandstand without straying beyond into the large block of flats behind.

Two Martin Audio W8LCs were deployed for centre frontfills, and two masts of delays, set 75m back from the stage (midway from the site perimeter), each contained eight Martin Audio W8L Longbow enclosures. 12 LE1200 low-profile wedge monitors were provided as floor monitors onstage, and a customised 32-enclosure MXL sub-array completed the set-up.

“Once again, MLA displayed all we know and love about the system and delivered effective, even coverage,” says Dan Craig. “It’s my third major park event of the summer and yet again MLA has demonstrated its flexibility to create a system design network.

“Since I have been using the system, it has solved three very different problems and I am happy to be working with Ian [Colville] and the Capital team to provide the solutions which MLA enables us to implement.”

Describing the concert as “a fitting end to an inspirational four days of games,” Jim King, director of events at AEG Live, concludes: “AEG are very proud to have played our part in producing the Invictus Games closing concert.”