After completing a successful sold-out tour of the US and Canada for much of 2015, with a Martin Audio MLA PA provided by Showtime Sound LLC, popular actor-comedian, Kevin Hart, and his Production Manager, Scott Tydings, ensured they maintained continuity by asking Capital Sound to provide a similar rig when the tour arrived in Europe.
Tydings he had clearly enjoyed the MLA experience both with Kevin Hart and fellow comedienne Amy Schumer. The fit with Capital Sound, who also specialise in providing sound reinforcement for top-drawer stand-up comedians, was an obvious one although as General Manager Paul Timmins explained, the route was not a direct one.
“We were told how popular MLA had been by Rob Hofkamp (Director of US Operations) and we learnt that it was their first choice, and they were keen to use it again in Europe. The UK promoters Live Nation work with another Martin Audio customer, SXS Events in Bristol. As we have MLA, we became a partner company, working on their behalf. It was a short notice request but has worked out extremely well.”
With Kenny Hoyt again mixing the house sound as the FOH Engineer, assisted by experienced MLA System Tech Toby Donovan, production adopted a slightly different configuration to that used in North America. “Our proposal was for our standard comedy touring rig for the five arenas, which has worked out perfectly,” Timmins added.
The crew rigged 17 MLA enclosures plus one MLD downfill on each side of the stage as the main hang, with outfills provided by 16 MLA Compacts. For the LF, eight S218Xs were deployed in conventional 4+4 L/R ground stacks, with eight tiny DD6 Differential Dispersion loudspeakers mounted on top, performing frontfill duties. For the larger arenas, six W8LM Mini Line Array enclosures provided the delays.
Stage monitoring was limited and the foldback mixes were handled from FOH on a Midas Pro6.
Tydings had stated that the Martin Audio MLA rig had been a big help: “We first used it for the What Now? tour after hearing the MLA Compact at a demo. We’ve wanted to use it for a long time and just needed this opportunity to put it out there and showcase it.
“We thought it was a great fit for Kevin especially in terms of intelligibility in the arena because if you miss one word he says, the joke’s not funny. It’s more important to have even coverage and intelligibility for a comedian than any rock concert you’re ever going to do.
“Kevin’s definitely noticed the difference in articulation and even coverage in every seat with MLA. I was using another system before with three hangs a side and we were still getting sound complaints from people in the upper sections of large arenas about not being able to hear or get the clarity they needed.”
Hoyt echoed Tydings’ impressions: “MLA is amazing, the clarity and coverage is so much better when capturing a single voice in a large auditorium and making sure that every word gets out to the audience than other systems I’ve used. Other PAs are ok, but mixing with an MLA system is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I just know that the sound’s going to be smooth and consistent with all the right overtones.”
Tydings concluded: “There’s been a world of difference with the MLA rig. It’s night and day. We’ve just had some fly dates and Kenny’s never happy when he has to leave the MLA rig and do the same show on another system. It’s just never the same.
“For me, MLA is like having 3D audio. Instead of sounding like it’s coming from a speaker a few hundred feet away from you, Kevin’s voice is right in front of your face no matter where you’re sitting.”
Timmins agreed, adding: “MLA just continues to deliver. In the stand-up world it has already proven a winner with artists of the calibre of Michael McIntyre, Lee Evans and Kevin Bridges.”