Martin Audio MLA takes over main stage at Rock in Rio Lisbon

Gabisom Audio Equipment from Brazil deployed Martin Audio’s MLA rig on the world stage for the first time at the recent five-day Rock in Rio Festival in Lisbon – the largest deployment of MLA on a single stage.

The historical ties between Martin Audio’s MLA and Rock in Rio began with a system test at the US event in Las Vegas in May 2015, where it appeared on the second stage, the Mercedes-Benz Evolution. This successful event was followed with the deployment of 46 MLA, two MLD Downfill and 24 MLX subs by Gabisom at the 30th birthday of Rock in Rio in Brazil – again on the second stage.

Gabisom chief engineer Peter Racy confirmed the impact created by MLA, and stated, “For me personally it was a pleasure to hear the pristine sound quality of MLA, and in my opinion that is what made the difference. In fact I heard nothing but rave reviews from users of the MLA in Rio.”

And so to Bela Vista Park in Lisbon, where the deal to bring MLA onto the main Rock in Rio World Stage was negotiated by Dom Harter, managing director of Martin Audio, with the support of his Alex Rojas from PRO AVLS.

With 112 MLA, eight MLD, 60 MLX subs and 24 MLA Compact it in fact became the largest deployment of MLA systems on a single stage, eclipsing both Glastonbury and Hyde Park main stages.

Unusual for MLA — but a trademark sound and visual design of Rock in Rio — is the doubling of hangs either side of the stage with both flanking an array of subs. Typically the design calls for one array to do vocals and the other to do instrumentation from the band. What the design did deliver for the festival was a very muscular sound but one that had absolute clarity for the daily crowds that were in excess of 70,000.

Martin Audio product support engineer, Chris Pyne, who had also been part of the original crew in Las Vegas, commented, “Geographically, this was a complicated place, as the contouring of the terrain was very different from left to right, climbing steeply on one side of the stage and running flat on the other. The challenge was to get even coverage and in order to compensate for this unusual geography, every single array required a different optimisation. Fortunately, with MLA and Display 2 software this was a very easy problem to solve."

The main World Stage featured an array of rock and pop celebrities, including Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Stereophonics, Queen and Adam Lambert, Mika, Fergie, Hollywood Vampires, Maroon 5, Avicii, and Charlie Puth. Many of the acts also used a full set of LE1500 and LE2100 Martin Audio monitors which were fed by the company’s own MA5.2KDSP amplifiers.

In conclusion, Harter said: "This is a historic victory for MLA and Martin Audio and is representative of the system’s growing dominance in the festival circuit. We are delighted that Gabisom has started a new division in the company and look forward to many more prestigious tours with this world famous rental company.”