MLA AT ABU DHABI'S GRAND MOSQUE FOR RAMADAN
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center (SZGMC) in Abu Dhabi recently appointed Martin Audio customer, Almoe AV Production & Rentals, to provide the Ramadan 2015 sound system for all the indoor areas throughout the mosque - with a peak attendance of 65,000 people.
With strict coverage specifications dictated by SZGMC's audio consultants and in-house sound engineer, the requirement was met in the Main Hall, largely by using Almoe's Martin Audio MLA rental system for the main prayer hall. The promise of MLA being able to deliver the specific coverage from front to back with minimal reverberation was key to Almoe's bid, as was the finished look.
'The only goal we were given was 'to deliver consistent coverage everywhere',' said System Designer and Technical Project Manager, Bruno Vitanza. 'We showed all the prediction results and calculations in the Display software which was extremely accurate. All I needed to do was avoid all the marble and glass where possible, while trying to get direct sound to the areas needed. Martin Audio MLA has a unique way of manipulating the sound output and we were able to time align the systems to achieve a great level of intelligibility.'
Almoe's submission also needed to show renders of the finished look of the cladding for the stacks and W8LM totems and goalposts.
In order to keep the footprint to a minimum, the system itself comprised four stacks of 3 x MLX and 5 x MLA to provide even coverage to a depth of 46m deep. As for the Martin Audio MLX enclosures these were not deployed as conventional subs. 'Instead we used them as support stacks due to the linkable rigging and safety features,' explained Bruno.
The challenge in the room was to deliver prayer calls and the Imam's voice with high intelligibility and at consistent levels down to the people praying directly in front of the MLA stack. 'We ended up with a difference of 2dB between the first row at 1m to the very end of the room,' the Almoe man explained. 'Although MLA is capable of providing 0dB difference between these two points, the final 2dB between A-B was necessary to keep a realistic natural reverberation in the room caused by all the beautiful marble surfaces in the hall.'
For other large indoor and outdoor areas Almoe specified the Martin Audio W8LM/W8LMD Mini Line Array System, 62 enclosures in total. The system was flown on goal posts for the corridors (in two arches) with two further arches as delay. The brackets were custom designed for Almoe's Milos Trusses and all processing took place within Martin Audio's dedicated DX1.5 and DX2 system controllers.
The result in all the areas was a sound extremely clean, direct and focused,' he said, But the challenges didn't end there. As the main Prayer Hall contained several columns, to overcome the resulting acoustic shadow they opted for a wireless solution.
As for the speakers, all had to be covered and Almoe used their own Inviframe system with Joelastic material to cover all the MLA boxes, and custom Aluminium Pipe and Drape to cover the W8LM Mini Line Array System. 'This allowed us to provide an extremely neat solution to satisfy the client,' said Bruno Vitanza.
'This was definitely a very challenging job, as every prayer was broadcast live during the whole holy month of Ramadan and during breaks there was a live broadcast of interviews with various personalities taking place inside the main prayer hall,' he concluded.
To see the time lapse video of the system set-up, click here.