PHILLIPS ACADEMY GRADUATES MORE EFFICIENTLY WITH M
Andover, MA––Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts used a brand new Martin Audio system during its 229th Commencement. The system, provided by longtime supplier Balanced Input, was comprised of Martin Audio W8LM Mini Line arrays W8LMD downfill speakers and WS218X subs for the main coverage, a number of Martin WM05s for fills and Martin LE 1200s for confidence monitors. Ashly PE Series amplifiers provided power for the speakers with onboard DSP under wireless control from a portable laptop.
Mark Waker, the founder of Balanced Input and an audio provider to Phillips Academy for 11 years, explained the decision to go for a miniature line array rather than a conventional trap box system. 'We've used conventional boxes and it worked well, but we had big mains on scaffold, then midfield delays on crank-ups and then crowd-pleasers at the very back, also on crank-ups. The coverage was good but the graduation space is surrounded by unforgiving 50' high brick dorms and so much gear was visually intrusive. I have been using Martin products for a long time and the stated performance IS the performance, so with Rob Hofkamp's (Martin Audio Director of North American Operations) help, we put the system together.'
'There is also the carbon footprint issue, it bothered me how much energy we were using. The triple ring could never be termed efficient, whether to transport, to rig or to power. The Martin speaker systems are high efficiency, the amps are high efficiency and I would say that reducing crew count from 6 to 3, rig time from 6 hours to 4 hours and replacing a 26' box truck with a Dodge Sprinter Van qualifies as efficient.' Coincidentally, the keynote address by Head of School Barbara Landis Chase focused on conservation and energy efficiency.
The system is flown from custom lifts, which go to 15', but due to low hanging tree branches, the system was trimmed at 10' with the top box almost horizontal. 'We had to trim it very tightly to the back of the seated area, so we added fills for the standees' commented Dan Ostroff, A1 for Balanced Output, the new company formed to market the new system. 'Balanced Input will continue with consulting and contracting, and Balanced Output will focus on live events. The next event will be the same system, in a large gymnasium, way higher SPL with more subs and it still all fits in the Sprinter'
Event Coordinator Duncan Will expressed his delight at the dramatically improved sound, superior aesthetics and 'the absence of hardware in the trees'. Phillips Academy AV Manager Mike Crouse added, 'The Martin system sounded better, was quicker to set up, and looked cleaner than any other system we've used for Commencement. I'm looking forward to seeing it return for our 2008 Commencement.'
Balanced Input has a long track record with Martin Audio and was named 2002-2003 Club Sound Installer of the Year. Mark concluded, 'We looked at all speaker options and I logged some miles going to hear as many systems as I could. We bought the W8LM because we can fly with a motor up to 16 deep, fly off our lifts up to 6 deep, or stick an LM and an LMD on a pole. They handle all vocal work without the need for a sub and I can run 4 boxes with one channel of an amp. Oh, did I mention that they sound really, really good!'