Capital Sound And Martin Audio Turn Up The Volume At SW4

Photo: Chris Taylor Photography

Capital Sound and its Martin Audio MLA system provided audio for Lock N Load Events’ annual South West Four (SW4) festival on Clapham Common this year.

Working for the third consecutive year with promoter Andrew Mattle, the MLA was on hand for the likes of The Chemical Brothers and Rudimental at the bank holiday weekend event.

Capital Account Manager Martin Connolly confirmed that while the MLA family was featured in all areas, the MLX subs were deployed in two different formats, namely a broadside cardioid array on the main stage whilst stages two and three had cardioid stacks under the hangs. On the fourth stage, four WS218X subs were set each side on stage in an end-fire configuration – all of which saved on valuable space between pit and barrier, normally occupied by the sub arrays.

The biggest change on what has traditionally been a noise sensitive site was the confirmation from Lambeth Council of new sound thresholds. Three Spires Acoustics were appointed as the on-site measurement consultants, as the festival prepared for what would be ‘the biggest, most explosive and loudest’ event in its history.

While the main stage and stage two both featured an MLA rig, stages three and four were equipped with MLA Compact. Martin Audio R&D director Jason Baird suggested an asymmetrical dispersion pattern on the main stage sub array to make the dispersion narrower on the noise sensitive side. Capital Sound’s Toby Donovan took care of the programming, helping to monitor offsite sound spillage from a cabin behind FOH, along with Three Spires Acoustics.

Aside from Donovan, Capital Sound’s experienced crew also included FOH Technician Joseph Pearce and Monitor Engineer Kevin Smith.

Connolly said: “This was a landmark for Clapham Common and I know the promoters were happy with the sound levels achieved. Historically, Clapham Common has only been 96-98dB(A), so by raising this to the equivalent of 102dB(A) while still hitting the offsite limits with MLA it was a major breakthrough.”