AMSTERDAM'S FAMOUS MELKWEG EXTENDS WITH MARTIN AUD
TM Audio supplies renovated venue with flown W8LM/WMX system
Martin Audio has extended its long relationship with one of Amsterdam's most famous music venues, the Melkweg (Milky Way).
For many years the legendary rock club, which was born out of the 1960's flower power era, boasted one of Martin Audio's pioneering Wavefront 8 systems - but after stringent multi-system evaluation earlier this year (including a Martin Audio W8LC Compact system), the club opted to upgrade to a 3-way Martin Audio W8LM Line Array solution in their main 'MAX Room.' And a new era was about to begin.
The venue's senior sound engineer Joost Evers revealed that there were two principle reasons for keeping faith with Martin Audio: 'the quality of the sound, and our long relationship with their distributors, TM Audio'. This he knew would not only provide the venue with guaranteed service, 'but the confidence that we were buying the best equipment, with the correct system set-up.'
But TM Audio project manager Jaap Pronk admits that prior to commissioning much experimentation with the system design and expert fine tuning were required to achieve optimum effect. For the latter he turned to one of Holland's most accomplished sound engineers and system designers, Hugo Scholten.
The change in approach was caused by the fact that part of the venue's renovation at the beginning of the year, involved removing the back wall and extending the depth of the room by 10 metres to increase its capacity to 1500. Increasing the stage depth to 6-metres and repositioning it under a ceiling - which had now increased to 5-metres height to accommodate a lighting bridge - had a profound effect on the acoustic.
'Since the stage is hollow, it was also acting as a bass resonator when we groundstacked the WMX subs,' declared Pronk.
Instead he proposed that six WMX subs be flown from each side of the stage - alongside ten W8LM (and W8LMD Downfill) clusters - with the sub frequencies steered by the three Martin Audio MA4.8 amplifiers to which they are assigned. At the same time careful optimisation of the mid-highs was required since the W8LM's now had to fire even further down this narrow elongated rectangular room.
The system was set up using Martin Audio's proprietary DISPLAY™ and ViewPoint™ software and fine-tuned by Hugo Scholten.
Explaining the rationale behind the design, Jaap Pronk says, 'While the requirement was to create coverage that was as wide as possible, providing even coverage in front of the stage was also paramount.' This was achieved by simply placing a W8LMD at the bottom of each array - giving a 140° spread. Since the W8LM/LMD arrays are mounted on a track, these can be reangled and retracted when the adjustable stage is used in its smaller configuration.
The Martin Audio installation - boosted by new S218/W8C sidefills - forms the centrepiece of a complete new cabling infrastructure that includes stage, monitor and system EQ patching, with integrated matrix mixing (offering tie lines to the Melkweg's recording studio), and transformer-based channel splitting to FOH, monitors, recording studio and broadcast trucks . The wiring architecture was designed by TM Audio and Ampco/Flashlight Group sister company, Engine.
Joost Evers and the venue's chief sound and light engineer, Dirk de Vries, now have consistent coverage across the floor and up to the small balcony - a system with the ability to deliver the legendary Martin Audio punch but at the same time display all the transparent properties that make it so multipurpose. This is precisely what the Melkweg needs for the vast range of shows it promotes, and however the 1m x 2m modular stage sections are configured, the Martin Audio PA can be repositioned accordingly, with the correct system settings enabled.
TM Audio arranged for Hugo Scholten to 'babysit' during the evaluation and post-commissioning periods, working closely with both the house technicians and visiting international sound engineers.
'This method of installing and commissioning a system to meet the wishes of both the client and visiting acts is the best way of ensuring maximum performance,' believes Pronk. 'Allowing the venue to have Hugo on site for a week was instrumental in us winning the contract. Now sound engineers can achieve the same levels everywhere in the room.'
Having a combination of DISPLAY™, ViewPoint™, XTA DP448 processing … and the benefit of Hugo's ears was always going to be a winning formula, he says.
About The Melkweg
The Melkweg is operated as a multi-room, non-profit making venue by the Stichting Foundation and funded by the local government. Originally built as a sugar factory it later became a milk depot (hence the name). By the late 1960's it had been abandoned until local hippies asked the council if they could stage a couple of 'happenings' there - and this revived interest. The venue thrived during the punk era of the mid-to-late 80's so that by 1995 they were able to take space from the adjoining City Theatre to develop 'The MAX' (with a Martin Audio W8 system). However, the original 'Old Room' remains, and still runs a Martin Audio W8C/WSX rig, with LE400 floor monitors. Aside from its two band/dance rooms Melkweg also operates a 150-seat theatre and a cinema and is available for private hire. Currently a new 800-seat venue is being constructed on the roof for completion in late 2008 - a joint venture with the City Theatre, and co-funded by the local government and sponsors.
Further information from:
Maureen Hayes, Martin Audio Jerry Gilbert, JGP Public Relations
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