Martin Audio turns the clock back 50 years

1973, Pink Floyd, PA Front

Australian Pink Floyd Show, TAPFS, tribute band has returned to the UK for its Dark Side 50 Tour 2023. The tour will marry Martin Audio’s Wavefront Precision line array technology, fielded by 22live and the original rig conceived by Martin Audio founder, Dave Martin and Bill Kelsey for that 1973 tour.

The idea of recreating this came from Chris Hewitt, of CH Vintage, who floated the idea back in April. Hewitt is known for having salvaged equipment that toured concert halls and festivals in the 1960s and 70s, and selected items from his emporium can frequently be seen on show, lovingly restored, at major trade conventions.

He had already created Pink Floyd’s Live at Pompeii rig for the 50th anniversary in 2021, but in April this year he decided to take it further. Having discussed the idea of revisiting the Dark Side concept with Focusrite chairman, Phil Dudderidge, it was a later conversation at this year’s PLASA Show that sealed the deal.

The band have long used Chris Hewitt’s resource for components for the band’s guitar cabs. He wasted no time in getting back in contact with Australian Pink Floyd founders, Stephen McElroy (aka Steve Mac), Jason Sawford and Lee Smith and they were in favour of the idea, as were promoters SJM and the band’s management.

The 1973 rig will be on static display inside the venue foyers. But what does it comprise? Centrepiece is the Kelsey / Martin two 15 bins, (two 15” drivers vertically stacked rear facing) which were the first production cabs Dave Martin ever made.

Chris Hewitt noted, “The Martin 2 x 15 Mk1 is the bin that launched the legendary Martin 1 x 15 W bin which became part of the modular system, along with the MH212 Philishave mid. It was realised that 2 x 15 Mk 1 cabs were heavy and didn’t always fit through venue doors, so Martin made a quick design decision to saw it in half horizontally. We are taking four of these original Kelsey / Martin bins, loaded with JBL K140s, and the midrange for Pink Floyd in 1973, which was covered by silver flares with a mixture of Vitavox S2, Electro-Voice 1829 horns and JBL 2402 bullets. We also have those along with Phase Linear 400 amplifiers.”

Also on show are original Sennheiser MD409N vocal mics of the type used at Pompeii and on the DSOTM tour, and some of the original Pink Floyd flight cases manufactured by the CP Cases.

22live are happy to be a part of this retrospective and hire director and co-founder Paul Timmins, whose relationship with TAPFS extends back through many tours. “It’s unique that while we are providing the new technology of Wavefront Precision, with all its advantages of scalability and optimisation, in the auditoriums, out in the foyer we are connecting back to the original rig through which fans heard the soundtrack 50 years ago. It just shows how far the technology has come.”