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Martin Audio MLA Mini features in upgrade of Germany’s largest outdoor theatre

The site that hosts the Elspe Festival in Olpe, South Westphalia, has undergone a major audio upgrade, central to which was a Martin Audio MLA Mini. The 120,000sqm site is one of the largest show and festival parks in Europe and attracts 200,000 visitors each year.

Ulrich Schmitz is the sound consultant responsible for the audio systems, he also works at the company EP:Nöker, who were entrusted with the planning and installation. Schmitz explained: “Elspe Festival’s claim is to invest in stable, long-lasting and future-proofed products. We searched for a solution, which was technologically state of the art and which fit our requirement 100%.”

Some of the criteria had to do with speech intelligibility as well as provide smooth coverage of the whole auditorium and a better monitor situation on stage. In addition it had to be able to withstand the hard weather conditions.

Several leading suppliers were considered for the work but the choice went in favour of United Brands: “We knew United Brands could deliver the complete audio hardware package required in view of their extensive portfolio,” said Schmitz.

For the outdoor Nature area 16 MLA Mini elements were used (four each for the left and right hangs, with a cluster of eight in the centre) as well as six S15+ subwoofers and six DD6 speakers as nearfills. Monitoring was realised by eight weatherproof AM10 and two AM12, which were non-visible.

The all-season Festivalhalle stage was equipped with a front PA comprising three stacks each of W8LM Mini Line Array elements (with a single W8LM and two W8LMD in L/C/R configuration) and three S218+ subs. Stage monitoring is formed from a centre stack with a single W8LM and two W8LMD Downfills (plus a W8VDQ on each flank for side monitors).

Both installations were controlled by XTA devices, and powered by amplifiers from MC2 Audio, while the mixing console in the Festivalhalle was upgraded to a DiGiCo SD9 system.

Jochen Bludau, MD of Elspe Festival commented: “From the first day of planning, the staff from EP:Nöker and United Brands worked hand in hand to create an excellent result. The response by visitors and actors has been consistently positive.”