With the acquisition of 36 Martin Audio MLA (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array) enclosures, Copenhagen-based rental company ETP (European Tour Production) has a system more than capable of filling Denmark’s largest venues.
More significantly, however, this is a further step towards establishing a ‘Scandinavian Gear Pool’ — an idea floated by Øystein Wierli from em nordic/Englund Musik when Norwegian rental company Rubicon purchased its own similar rig (comprising 20 MLA top boxes, 12 MLX subs, and four MLD Downfill enclosures) last November.
ETP director, Flemming Pedersen, said that the two hire companies had enjoyed a co-operative working relationship over the years on a sub-rental basis, within their own respective territories. Rubicon’s head of sound, Roar Ånestad agreed. “By helping each other out and working together,” he said, “we are able to be create more opportunities for both companies and pull on our good strengths together.”
“It is mostly coincidence that we tend to like the same brands and equipment, and since Øystein Wierli is a mutual friend he has been an important influence in our choice of equipment,” added Flemming. The idea of a pool was kick-started at PLASA last summer, and included in the consortium was Lars Wern from Stockholm-based DM Audio.
Both Pedersen and Ånestad knew that a cooperation regarding the MLA would make the companies more competitive in the international marketplace. Although the ‘pool’ will also involve other equipment, the brainstorming centred around MLA, since it was such a revolutionary system — and at a subsequent meeting in Denmark, a gentleman’s agreement was reached.
Flemming Pedersen had originally been exposed to the system a year ago at Pro Light+Sound. Later, theory was converted into practice when he and Rubicon’s Roar Ånestad attended the landmark Amnesty International Festival in Antwerp’s Groenplaats.
“We felt that if only 50% of what we had heard was true then we had something that was really interesting,” said Pedersen. “But in Antwerp, we could hear with our own ears that everything that had been promised was actually 100% true. One of the things I have always loved about Martin Audio is there is never any bragging, they just tell it like it is.”
After deliberation, Pedersen decided to commit his company to the new system. “It was simple in my book; there are a lot of fine systems out there but MLA is simply in a class of its own. There is MLA, and then there are all the others,” he said
ETP’s system will make its debut with Kaizer’s Orchestra, although the largest date on their tour will be at Oslo’s Spektrum Arena, where both ETP’s and Rubicon’s systems will be on duty.
“Rubicon has always enjoyed a good relationship with the Orchestra’s sound engineer Johan Berntsen,” said Roar Ånestad, “and after showing him the MLA system prior to its arrival in Norway he was totally convinced that this was the solution for providing great sound in the otherwise difficult Oslo Spektrum.” Production will be based entirely around Martin Audio speaker systems — including PA, outfills and monitoring.
Both ETP and Rubicon are firm believers in partnerships and will remain open to new ventures with other MLA suppliers in the future. Meanwhile both companies are eagerly preparing for the festival season. “We have high hopes for what we can do with the MLA system, both individually and collectively,” say the two men.
Picture: Representatives from ETP, Rubicon and em nordic line up alongside other new MLA customers for a photoshoot in Frankfurt.