DISPLAY COMES OF AGE WITH STEREOPHONICS
For Dave Roden, who has spent ten years as front of house engineer for the Stereophonics, the most important aspect of his job is making sure their distinctive sound is faithfully reproduced each and every time they perform - no matter where they are or what sound system is being used. 'I know this band and I know what they should sound like,' says Roden. This has made the job of Al Woods, who embraces the roles of system designer, Martin Audio line array technician, D5 babysitter and crew chief, an interesting challenge.
The loudspeaker system comprises a flown Martin W8L line array with an additional sub hang of W8LS and the new W8LD wide dispersion 120 degree vertically arrayable downfill enclosures. Woods uses a combination of Martin's new DISPLAY acoustic prediction software and ViewPoint to decide the curvature of the array at each venue, with time alignment for the system set using Smaart Live software.
In the larger venues Cap have also been flying Martin W8LS (2 x 18 front-loaded) subs alongside the main hang. 'We generally stick to around six in the air and then eight subs a side - as a line array on its side, in a straight row on the floor, with two further LS subs in the middle,' reports Al.
Front fills are Martin W8LM Mini Line Arrays (which are also used for outfills), and where necessary they have also deployed LC's as side hangs - and a four high ground stack. The system is driven by Martin Audio MA4.2s with the subs assigned to Amcron 3600s.
'I think the Martin system is good,' says Woods. 'It's relatively new, but the guys at Martin are great with their R&D and they'll listen to what you say.
'Their proprietary ViewPoint prediction is a guideline only and I've been tailoring it manually … just closing the gaps in the array to beat the humidity problems. I have been trying to punch enough through to FOH and less up to the balcony or the bleachers because there's no real thermal issue up there.'
Jason Baird (Martin Audio's Director of Engineering) came down to Hammersmith and simulated the system using DISPLAY. 'This allowed us to model the effects of humidity, showing a 3dB drop on the highs and the hi-mids,' Al continues. 'That makes such a difference to Dave (Roden). If he hasn't got the sound in his face, like any other engineer his natural reaction is to push things up, so then I have a problem trying to mould it back into what we had.'
Using DISPLAY Jason Baird simulated the array curvature required to punch extra highs back towards the mix position. Of course this could have been eq'd electronically but the array curvature approach meant no loss of headroom with the additional benefit of being able to optimise specific areas within the room.
Finally, Al Woods believes it is important to remain conscious of the way the room's characteristics will change. 'It might be minus four in the morning when you load in, but come nine o'clock it's going to be 28°. And you're not going to have that shiny floor bouncing all that energy back at you - it's going to be a load of punters.'
It's all about developing an understanding of the line array system. 'The way Martin Audio present their product - and the way it can be tailored to suit the engineer's specific needs - is the key to being able to optimise it.'
Further information from:
Maureen Hayes, Martin Audio
Tel: +44 (0)1494 535312
Fax: +44 (0)1494 438669
Jerry Gilbert, JGP Public Relations
Tel: +44 (0)1707 258525
Fax: +44 (0)1707 267140