New MLA system deployed for orchestral prom

The Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra (RSPO) presented a classical prom conducted by Marc Soustrot outside the Maritime Museum for the 36th time recently, with help from DM Audio’s Martin Audio MLA system.

For at least 20 of those concerts the sound has been mixed by DM Audio’s Lars Wern, but using their new Martin Audio MLA Compact system, the production company ensured that not only the orchestra was heard, but also famous Swedish soprano Malin Bystrom infront of the 25,000 – 30,000 strong crowd.

Presented by actor Samuel Froler, the programme was played out through 12 MLA Compacts, rigged on each side of the stage, with 3 DSX subs set up in a cardioid pattern on each side. Outfills were provided in the form of six Martin Audio W8LM Mini line array elements covering one flank, while the delay mast featured four W8VDQ enclosures in pairs. Although the delays were scarcely needed with this system, they were deployed as a precaution as the audience is seated at a higher elevation in the far back stands.

Lars Wern also designed the sound system for the event and was assisted by Martin Audio’s Martyn ‘Ferrit’ Rowe, who acted as a system engineer. The main mix was affected on a DiGiCo SD8 with monitor and strings premixed on an SD10. Monitor engineer Robert Ernlund doubled as a premix engineer.

All 54 violins were miced using Countryman B3’s, with all other instruments assigned to Neumann KM184 and AT 3035.The vocal mic was a Countryman E6 on a Sennheiser SK2000 transmitter, while the hand-held microphones were wireless Sennheiser SKM2000/965.
Lars Wern said the MLA compact was the perfect solution for a classical orchestra, since not only were the instruments reproduced transparently but there was no bleed back onto the stage.

Wern said: “Most of the stage area was programmed as ‘hard avoid’ in the Design file. We predicted an SPL, 3m from the front of the stage to the farthest point of the audience, to fall by only 4.5dlb. This worked very well since you felt like you were only a few metres away from the source even though the distance was 85 metres. I have not heard anything that sounds as nice as this – other systems don’t come near it. But the most important virtue is controllability so you can steer it into position and keep the SPL even.”

He continued: “We wanted to improve the sound and in particular maintain an even SPL over the distance of approx 85-110 metres. If you can increase your dynamics without exciting the dB levels that’s great. The delays added sound to the slightly higher positions in the back of the audience area.”

Wern also noted the advantage of the MLA Compact’s smaller footprint and much greater definition than other systems he had used on this event.

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