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Martin Audio MLA Tames Taronga Park Zoo Concerts

A Martin Audio MLA system was recently used by Entertainment Installations to provide even coverage and control noise overspill at the Taronga Park Zoo Concert series in Sydney Australia.

Sydney, Australia––For the past three years, Entertainment Installations has been supporting the long-standing ‘Twilight at Taronga’ summer concert series in Sydney with production services.

Based an hour north of the city, the installation and production specialists can hardly have taken on a more challenging task, since the concerts take place in the middle of the busy Taronga Park Zoo, with restricted site access. Despite its picturesque setting, with around 1600 people picnicking nightly as the sun sets behind the Opera House and Harbor Bridge, in the past off-site noise has been a real issue.

“Being a Sydney Harborside location there is a lot of ‘old money’,” observes Entertainment Installations’ MD, Neale Mace. “These are well-to-do residents whom you don’t want complaining about noise. There is also the issue of the animals themselves; the elephants in particular are sensitive to noise. However, that was before we started using [Martin Audio’s] MLA Compact.”

Although Neale first introduced the system to his inventory two years ago, he has been running the company’s front line systems since the end of the last millennium, when he invested in the Wavefront W8C Compact system before moving onto Martin Audio’s conventional W8LC line array.

But it was only when he started running Martin Audio’s award-winning MLA technology that the traditional sound escape problems at Taronga Park Zoo all but disappeared. “MLA’s ability to fit the audio to a designated area, with very little audio beyond that space, is a revelation for this event,” he says,“ coupled with the fact that it’s a recognized brand and sounds amazing. There’s an 85dB limit at the perimeter, but with MLA Compact we can achieve this and still reach 100dB at the FOH desk.”

The 17 weekend concerts are spread over two months and this year featured Rufus Wainwright, Belle and Sebastian, and Conor Oberst as well as local Australian artists. Entertainment Installations rigged eight MLA Compact elements per side in the PA towers on 1-ton chain blocks. Three DSX subs were stage-stacked each side under the PA hangs. “The PA towers aren’t totally weatherproof and this is another reason that the MLA Compact works here – as it is weatherized,” Mace continues.

Mace’s sound team, which for the most part consisted of Gordon Wood as monitor tech/ op, and Murrey Carr as FOH tech have both undertaken MLA training, while local Martin Audio distributor Technical Audio Group has been on hand to provide any assistance.

The audience was certainly impressed with the sound, as were the bands — Belle and Sebastian’s sound engineer, for one, registering his complete satisfaction.

It has unquestionably vindicated Entertainment Installations’ investment in Martin Audio’s next generation technology. “This, along with the large complement of W8C, WSX, W8LC and WS218X means we have the biggest Martin Audio inventory in Australia––and I know this has given us a competitive edge over the years. Having the MLA system puts us in a better position in the Australian touring market.”

And it has made an indelible impact at the Zoo. “This event has been running for over 10 years and I’m told by the Zoo and the promoter that the first year we were involved was the best result they’d had in terms of audio quality, with no noise complaints.

“We’ve built on that experience over time and tried to make it better every year. The MLA system is instrumental in that success as I don’t believe there’s another PA on the market that can deliver the audio quality, coverage and level that’s required without causing off-site noise issues.

“Now they are starting to book bigger and better international acts, boosting the popularity of the event, we are getting more promoter representatives, tour managers and other industry people hearing what we and MLA can achieve.”

About Martin Audio®

Founded by audio engineer David Martin in 1971, Martin Audio pioneered the use of all-horn-loaded bass designs in world-class touring loudspeaker systems for groups such as Pink Floyd, ELP and Supertramp. Located outside of London, Martin Audio now embodies a sophisticated mix of acoustic design, research, mathematical modeling and software engineering for a wide range of products in the installation, cinema and touring sound markets.

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