Martin Audio Join The War on Drugs

The unique multi-cellular controllability of Martin Audio’s award-winning MLA was put to the test recently at the notoriously difficult Alexandra Palace, when The War on Drugs played to a 10,000 sell-out crowd.

The American indie 6-piece rock band, fronted by Adam Granduciel, were promoting their fourth album A Deeper Understanding — and fortunately their FOH engineer Bob Strakele had prior experience, not only of the venue but also of MLA.

“I have mixed at Ally Pally before,” he confirmed. “So when I heard that we would be doing a show there, I immediately asked our production manager [David Scheid] to get in touch with Capital Sound about getting an MLA system.”

Capital’s Operations & Development Director, Paul Timmins added: “We have worked with Bob on a number of shows over the past ten years, including Billy Talent, Erasure and James. So he contacted me and said he wanted us to do the PA for a band he’d not worked with before, primarily because of the Ally Pally show; then he looped me in with the production manager. What started off as being just Ally Pally then turned into two additional shows at Manchester Apollo as part of a European tour.

“Having toured with the system before, I knew that we would be able to keep any unwanted energy from bouncing around in the roof,” he said. “The drapes installed certainly helped to an extent, but I feel like the ‘hard avoid’ setting in the roof was what kept the room under control,” Strakele explained.

The sound engineer was referring to the unique ‘hard avoid’ function in Martin Audio’s dedicated Display 2.3 software which enables designated areas to be ‘avoided’ and spill to be reduced to a minimum. For the main hangs, Capital flew 9 MLA and an MLD Downfill enclosure, left and right, and 2 delay hangs of 9 MLA Compact per side. “These were set just behind the PA to keep the sound as evenly distributed as we could and focus the sound on the floor area,” Timmins explained. “It worked really well.”

In addition, since there are limited options to where the PA can be flown at this venue, they added 2 ground stacks of 3 MLA Compact per side for infill, with a further 6 Martin Audio DD12 for front fill. Subwoofers comprised 6 stacks of 3 Martin Audio WS218X, with the bottom enclosure in each stack reversed for a cardioid response.

“What I love about this system is its ability to throw extremely long distances and still remain relatively flat in the frequency spectrum. You don’t get that HF roll-off over long distances that most other PA’s suffer from. Also, the hard avoid function allows the user to tame reflections against hard surfaces, and control strict dB limitations at venue perimeters,” Stakele concluded.