In the second of our two audio in outdoor spaces features, TFA goes back to the sounds of the summer with a look at festivals.
One weekend in Victoria Park, Hackney, London presented Martin Audio’s Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) with three separate festivals for to contend with.
Promoted by Eat Your Own Ears, Underage, Field Day and Apple Cart saw Capital Sound Hire return to the Park with the same system they had fielded for the LED Festival a few weeks earlier — working alongside Loud Sound, the event management company, and LarMac LIVE, the production company.
This increasingly popular festival site is bordered on one side by trees, a canal and expensive residential properties. Thus environmental acoustics experts Vanguardia needed to be satisfied that the sound would not bleed beyond the site perimeter and Cap Sound’s crew chief Nick Foots, supported by Martin Audio’s development manager Phil Anthony, set presets that would comfortably ensure this, while being able to retain a threshold of 98-100dB (Leq) measured over a 15-minute period.
Although the main stage was not in use for Underage on the Friday, the award-winning MLA performed spectacularly for the star-studded Saturday (Field Day) and Sunday (Apple Cart) events. Emulating the rig design for the LED event, the main hangs of 16 x MLA and 1 x MLD downfill enclosures per side were complemented by 15 front-facing MLX subs and seven rear-facing in a combined broadside/cardioid array. These were delay curved to provide a horizontal dispersion of 110° to cover the entire [email protected][email protected]
Martin Audio W8LC Compact Line Array elements provided outfills and a delay position 60 metres back, while two further hangs were flown on the Friday night in the 6,000 capacity second tent, which became the main showcase arena for Underage.
As a result, Cap Sound’s general manager, Paul Timmins, said his company had learnt a lot more about the system performance outside during their summer evaluation. “Taking it into Victoria Park has been extremely useful and we have been able to give audiences a different experience.
“Event manager Dan Craig said the MLA sounded fantastic, and that the situation with both the offsite noise and levels at FOH were exactly as they wanted,” remarked Timmins. “Most productions working there in the past have struggled to meet offsite criteria.” Production manager, LarMac LIVE’s Ian Greenway, and Nick Foots, also registered their satisfaction.
“A number of MLA filter optimizations were done to cover from 65-100 metres so we had settings that would allow Nick to dial in where he wanted coverage to stop,” said Phil Anthony. “We ended up with a coverage depth of about 85m in conjunction with exceptionally consistent SPL and frequency response.”
The Martin Audio man observed: that he could have set an even sharper cut-off at the perimeter had it been needed and also that the MLA performed way beyond its IP rating. “While the arrays were waiting to be rigged, some of the cabinets’ amplifier modules filled with water during a cloudburst — but we emptied it out and the system fired up straight away.”