As soon as Martin Audio's revolutionary Multicellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) had completed its world debut with German rap band Fettes Brot, the band's Berlin-based production company, Complete Audio, became the first global customer for the new system.
They wasted no time in placing an order for the rig, which included 20 x MLA, 2 x MLD enclosures and 14 x MLX subs (along with Merlinâ„¢ network management system, rigging and peripherals), with Martin Audio's German distributor, Atlantic Audio. Complete Audio MD André Rauhut remarked, “I now own a system which is truly unique.”
The MLA boosts the rental company's cutting-edge inventory, which already includes Martin Audio's W8L Longbow, W8LC and W8LM conventional line arrays. “The MLA is a genuine technological advancement — far exceeding the commonly-hyped systems in the market, and the next step in the genealogy of line array-based systems,” he said. “Martin Audio has taken an entirely revolutionary approach to designing a sound system.”
Combining Martin Audioâ€˜s touring legacy with unique optimization software — and a breakthrough cellular array design — MLA delivers coverage and consistency which has not been possible with traditional touring line arrays.
The result of many years of intensive R&D, MLAâ€˜s methodology replaces trial-and-error array design with intelligent numerical optimisation of the arrayâ€˜s output based on a highly accurate acoustic model.
The multi-cellular format has six individual cells in each enclosure — each with its own onboard DSP and power amplification.
A 24-enclosure array has 144 cells — too great a number to optimize manually or by ear. Thus Martin Audioâ€˜s proprietary Display 2â„¢ system design software automatically calculates FIR DSP filters for each cell and a redundant-ring audio network (U-NETâ„¢) downloads the settings into each array enclosure. Martinâ€˜s VU-NETâ„¢ software provides real time control and monitoring of the system.
André Rauhut and Fettes Brot's FOH engineer, Oliver Voges, had jumped at the opportunity to beta-test the system, discovering that by applying these principles and system components, MLA would deliver exceptionally consistent sound up to 150 metres — translating the engineerâ€˜s mix throughout the audience with a precision, power and clarity not previously possible. At the same time they noted how small and lightweight the MLA system is – despite the onboard amps and DSP – a factor that makes the system economically attractive.
“This was the proof I needed,” said Rauhut. “Before touring with Fettes Brot I only had the opportunity of hearing the MLA under controlled circumstances, but out on the road everyone — the sound engineers, venue promoters and audiences — were all amazed at the sound clarity and consistency.”
“With conditions changing daily from venue to venue, the MLA mastered even the most stringent challenges — and this ability cannot be offered by any other system worldwide. All the promises which had been made by Martin Audio worked in reality.”
Backing the performance and speed of set up was the support provided by the manufacturer and the German distributor, Atlantic Audio. “As a team we relied on this to learn about the new technology handling. This played a crucial role in the buying decision.”
Commented Wolfgang GarÃ§on, managing director of Atlantic Audio: “We are delighted to have extended our relationship with Complete Audio, and are proud that they have purchased the first MLA system in the world.
“Many manufacturers have jumped on the line array bandwagon and Martin Audio could simply have developed a next generation version; but with an amazing R&D team headed by Jason Baird they have come up with a totally different principle. Their goal has been to create a coherent wavefront at the listener's ear rather than the conventional method of providing coherent waves emanating from the speaker.”
Further work is already lining up for the MLA/MLX system, and André Rauhut confirms that following the Fettes Brot tour the new rig has already reinforced Klassik unter Sternen (Classic Under The Stars) at Berliner WaldbÃ¼hne and Dieter Thomas Kuhn's Schalala tour in the same location.
Meanwhile, the system is making waves in other parts of the world. It is presently on tour with the Zac Brown Band in the States, having recently completed the 31-day iTunes Festival in London.
For more about Martin Audio and MLA, please click to www.martin-audio.com.