COMPLETE AUDIO CONTINUES TO LEAD THE WAY WITH MLA
Four years after becoming original system adopter, demand continues to grow for André Rauhut's PA company.
In becoming the first customer worldwide to invest in Martin Audio's new Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) technology immediately after its launch in the spring of 2010, German audio production pioneer, André Rauhut, has led something of a revolution that has spread around the world.
His leap of faith in deciding to take the system out with German band Fettes Brot was quickly emulated as rental companies and sound engineers globally closely scrutinised the results. Among them was Special Events Services in the States, who were soon onboard with the Zac Brown Band.
But in completing another series of dates in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with the long-serving hip hop band, Rauhut's Berlin-based Complete Audio have now chalked up a total of 12 tours with MLA - while visitors to major festivals such as Berlin Festival, Melt, Splash and Citadel Music Festival have become immersed in the system, which delivers the same sound experience to audiences dispersed across the entire coverage area.
Reflecting on how he became a one man evangelist for MLA back in May 2010, André reflects, 'Initially, it was hard to get the message across to other techs and long time line array users that the system really could perform these new tricks - but the more we demonstrated the capabilities of the system, along with the power of the subs, the more the understanding has improved.'
Fortunately André's vision was shared by Fettes Brot sound engineer, Olli Voges - and while his backing helped influence the original purchase André says his mind was already clearly set.
He adds that the support from Martin Audio has consistently grown as the system has evolved. 'Today, by hiring the right staff, they are able to support the customer in a complete manner, and the progressive control improvements manifested in the DISPLAY software environment have improved optimisation further,' he confirms. Equally, thanks to participation in Martin Audio seminars they have been able to train up their own in-house engineers, experiencing MLA for the first time. 'To date, we have eight fully trained MLA system techs while it has also created great interest among other sound engineers,' he confirms. .
Not surprising, therefore, that from an initial inventory comprising 20 x MLA, 2 x MLD and 14 x MLX enclosures André has now ramped up his hire fleet and today holds inventory comprising 34 x MLA, 4 x MLD as well as 16 x MLA Compact and 24 x MLX. As he remarks, 'When playing such a wide range of arena venues with wildly differing capacities ranging from 2,500-16,000, it is vital to have a scalable system.'
Asked what lessons he has learnt since embarking on the voyage of discovery, André Rauhut says, 'It was how to tackle tricky venues with the instinctive use of the available tools, and having that experience helps you to do the right thing in the right place.'
Coming full circle, the most recent Fettes Brot tour, André Rauhut was fortunate to be able to call on Nils Uhthoff and Benny Franke as his system techs (while experienced Icelandic sound engineer Árni Bergmann has replaced Olli Voges at front-of-house). 'Nils is one of the few techs worldwide that had his hands on the system right from the start. We both did the very first shows, touring with the 'pilot' system that Martin Audio gave us to test around four years ago.'
And so Complete Audio's MLA rigs look like they will continue to enjoy a heavy duty cycle - mostly on the rental company's own productions, and also occasionally through cross hire with another production house, Live Audio. But the key factor is that André Rauhut confirms that MLA is enabling his company to win new accounts as awareness of MLA's unique properties grows.
Meanwhile Olli Voges will be able to pilot MLA again soon on the upcoming Casper tour - which will take in 29 concerts - while Complete Audio's system is now back out with popular local singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko; this time MLA/MLX is supplemented by Martin Audio W8LM Mini enclosures for outfill and nearfill duties.