MARTIN MINIS TAKE A VACATION - TO BUTLINS
A major sound and lighting refurbishment at Butlins holiday resort in Minehead has seen all their premium entertainment venues - the 7,000-capacity Skyline Pavilion, 2600-capacity Centre Stage Theatre and 1500-capacity REDS - all equipped with Martin Audio components.
Between them they host a wide variety of summer entertainment - from children's shows to visits by the Ministry of Sound - and thus a versatile, but compact system was required.
It was the fact that Minehead was already operating a Martin Audio W8C system in their Centre Stage Theatre that persuaded chief sound engineer Steve Borthwick and technical manager, Dirk Peace, to ask for a further audition.
'We really liked the W8C system in our premium venue, and although we listened other people's kit we wanted to maintain the reliability and sound quality of the W8C.'
But when Martin's Brad Watson presented the W8LM Mini Line Array system Steve says they were we 'gobsmacked' by the performance.
Initially Bourne Leisure had been looking only to replace their system in REDS, but that soon changed, and a custom-finished W8LM system also went into the Skyline Pavilion.
Brad Watson advised on a configuration that has seen the Skyline equipped with a stereo drop of three W8LM line array enclosures and a W8LMD downfill flown under a WMX sub on either side of the stage edge, with the bottom enclosure set around 2.5m above the stage top. Since the WMX has the same profile as the W8LM/D enclosures these could be flown directly from a single flying grid.
In order to make the audio more directional in REDS they have used a W8LM (7° vertical) and W8LMD (20° vertical) on each of the four drops, which are flown around the centre stage and suspended from a special lightweight flying grid. While the W8LM's fire into the raised area at the rear, the W8LMD's provide coverage to the main floor area in front of the stage, and two W3 enclosures double as stage/side fills and peripheral coverage.
Steve Borthwick says the improvement in the sound has been monumental - and long overdue.
'Minehead was last refurbished in the Year 2000, and frankly, the audio was never very good to start with. There were significant time delay problems in the Skyline Pavilion and we needed something that was going to cover the whole Pavilion with even distribution.
'Our technical manager Dirk Peace works to a five-year plan and the refit of both venues fell into this.'
Butlins also needed a compact system in the Skyline Pavilion - which he describes as 'like a massive tent'. A request was made by head of entertainment, Mike Godolphin, for a silver finish to the loudspeakers and flying frames - to match the Trilite rig from which the enclosures are suspended; Martin Audio were naturally happy to oblige.
At the same time Butlins have upgraded their loudspeaker system management and are delighted that the system is optimised in the AudioCore engines of XTA's DP-224 (Skyline Pavilion) and DP-226 (REDS).
Finally, both REDS and Centre Stage are using Martin Audio LE400 floor monitors.
Such has been the success of the new sound reinforcement that it is anticipated that this model will be rolled out through Bourne Leisure's Butlins estate, which also includes holiday villages in Bognor and Skegness.
'The master plan is to get parity between the three sites so that the sound reinforcement is consistent,' continued Borthwick. 'That way we only have to keep one lot of spares.'
He reflects, 'A lot of people attended that demo in the Skyline - including the technical managers from other sites - and were hugely impressed.'
The Martin Audio equipment was supplied by London-based Martin Audio specialists, Capital Sound Hire.
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