DBS MUSIC LIVE SOUND STUDENTS MASTER CAVE CHALLENGE WITH MLA MINI
There’s something out of the ordinary about doing a gig in a cave. However, when Jonathan Stafford of Cornish band Haunt the Woods approached Plymouth music technology college dBs Music to supply a PA system for their hugely anticipated EP launch gig, it seemed like a perfect challenge for dBs Music’s team Live Sound.
The complex nature of trying to optimise a sound system which would cover the audience area equally throughout the cavernous 500-capacity space outside Liskeard, meant that careful thought was required ahead of the show to ensure the right equipment was specified. However, the newly supplied Martin Audio MLA Mini system was a perfect solution to achieving this.
According to dBs Music Lecturer and Live Sound Technician, Olly Wickes, discussions regarding a next generation PA system had begun more than a year earlier. It was Simon Honywill, one of the founders of the course, and an ambassador for Martin Audio, who proposed the MLA Mini solution, while the connection between the College and Martin Audio is further extended by the fact that the company’s newly appointed Product Support Engineer, Ben Tucker, is a recent graduate.
The PA system consisted of eight MLA Mini elements ground stacked on a pair of MSX subs per side, optimised using the proprietary Display 2.3 software and controlled over the network using VU-Net.
Tucker was on hand throughout the day to ensure the new MLA Mini system was optimised to its full capability. He joined the team for the day, headed by Programme Leader Jim Parsons, Olly Wickes and three second year FdA students Nicole Higgins, Lee Chance and Kate Moss. They mixed local support acts, The Trees and Jamie Yost, while assisting Haunt the Woods’ FOH engineer, Bruce MacDonald — another former student.
“Together we grafted hard to succeed in providing an epic and involving sound for the audience as well as for the three bands that performed at the event, using a combination of Sennheiser G3 in-ear monitors and Martin Audio LE1200S stage monitors,” continued Wickes.
“It’s the second time we’ve had a gig in the cave; the environment was cold and damp, but we were able to compensate for the humidity in the software as well as the slapback, hard avoiding the back wall and treating the ceiling as a non-audience area. We had some CDD-LIVE! on hand for delays but simply didn't need them.”
According to Olly Wickes, McDonald himself commented on how amazing the PA system sounded as did the band.
Summing up, he said that this was the latest success in a long relationship with Martin Audio which began 12 years ago when their own in-house venue The Hub — which is used as a dBs Live training facility by day — was equipped with four Martin Audio WT3 enclosures and four WSX subs.
“As for MLA Mini I have used this many times and once again it has delivered 100%. Despite the technical difficulties at the cave we all left with a sense of achievement and pride in a job well done which is a testament to the hard working and dedicated work ethic of all involved.
“It was great to have an extra pair of hands to help with the optimisation, and we are now looking forward to using MLA Mini on some festival dates this summer, and in other real world situations.”