MLA makes its mark at Festival Coolritiba

Sound engineers sing the praises of a debuting MLA system by Martin Audio at the Brazilian music festival.

Already recognised for its involvement in Brazil’s Rock in Rio festival, Martin Audio’s multicellular loudspeaker array, MLA, recently provided main stage artists at the annual Festival Coolritiba in Curitiba, nearly 500 miles further south, with exemplary sound.

Headliners included Marisa Monte, Sandy, Mano Brown, and the legendary Gilberto Gil. However, it was the influence of Marisa Monte’s sound engineer, Daniel Carvalho, which brought about the change from the originally specified festival system.

He had been piloting the mix on the famous singer’s Portas tour through an MLA, provided by predominant rental company Gabisom (who also service Rock in Rio). Coolritiba was part of their 100-show tour schedule where Marisa Monte was top of the bill.

The results, Carvalho said, were incredible. “For many [engineers] it was their first time with Martin Audio and all technicians loved the sound. The promoter said he wants the same set-up for next year. Everybody agreed that it was the best sound ever heard at the site, including the Gabisom crew.”

Other sound engineers lined up to sing the system’s praises based on their Festival Coolritiba experience.

Maycon Mendes, Sandy’s engineer, said: “Every time I use Martin Audio I am impressed, with the clarity of the highs, the definition of transients and the coverage are impressive and, my master equaliser remains flat.”

Gustavo Mendes, Gilberto Gil’s sound technician, added: “Thanks for the opportunity of using the MLA system, which is for sure the best PA we used in this Gilberto Gil tour.”

Carvalho first encountered MLA when mixing a band at Rock in Rio in 2015. “Someone from Martin Audio showed me the DISPLAY software and introduced me to the system. When the Portas tour came around, I told Gabi from Gabisom, that I would love to try the Martin Audio system. It was love at first hear.

“At a stadium in Belo Horizonte, Marisa’s manager came to the front-of-house and asked, ‘What happened today? The voice is so clear’. I told him it was our new PA and he agreed to use this system from now on.” At Festival Coolritiba, where a crowd of around 20,000 fans assembled, the main PA was rigged as an L/C/R system with 15 MLA and a single MLD down fill at the base of each hang. Outfills comprised seven MLA plus an MLD downfill; there was a delay fill of six further MLA, with six MLA Compact as front fills.

The rig, which Daniel Carvalho also helped design, incorporated a generous array of 32 MLX subwoofers arranged in castellated broadside configuration.

Asked what he loves about MLA, Carvalho is unequivocal. “It is easy to design and deploy. The array processing ensures every position in the house sounds the same,” he added. “It’s very forgiving; when we must make sudden changes at venues without the need to recalculate angles — it’s just a matter of changing the preset of EQ settings and the sound delivers precisely what we need.

“Thanks go to Gabi for placing this much-loved PA in our hands and to Josiel Silva and Diego Talasca for rigging everything so expertly.”

This article originally appeared in issue #276 of TPi, which you can read here.

Photo: Martin Audio