Technotrix uses Martin Audio MLA to create multiple zones at Riot Fest

Another successful Riot Fest was held in Chicago’s Douglas Park in September with Technotrix supplying a complement of Martin Audio MLA and more for the two main stages.

“We did Stage 1 and Stage 2 with 11 Martin Audio MLA and one MLD per side flown on side by side Stageline SAM-550 stages that fired alternatively with virtually identical systems,” said Technotrix audio department manager Brent Bernhardt. “For subs, we had seven equally spaced stacks of three MLX in front of the stage with the middle sub turned around on each stack for cardioid, and we also had four W8LC’s as front fill on top of the sub stacks. Stage 1 had a stage left off hang with eight flown MLA Compacts for a VIP section.

“For monitoring, there were also 12 of the new XE500 monitors on eight mixes of iK42 and they sounded fantastic,” Bernhardt added. “The monitor engineers who worked with us thought they were quite possibly some of the best wedges they’d ever worked with, mostly noting their incredible stability right out of the gate. A Martin Audio SX218 was deployed as the drum fill sub with an XE500 on top—the only wedge that I feel is powerful enough to be used this way and not be a compromise––and side fills were two WS218X’s a side with two W8C’s on top. We also did Stage 5 on a Stageline SL-350 with eight W8LC a side, 16 WSX subs, and an XD12 for front-fill.”

According to Bernhardt, “the bands were definitely all over the map so the PA deployment and the way we tuned the rigs was definitely more open-ended as opposed to just hard-core bands. We had everything from Run the Jewels to Elvis Costello, Jerry Lee Lewis, Father John Misty, Weezer, Interpol and Suicidal Tendencies, so it ran the gamut.”

In terms of coverage at Riot Fest, the usual challenge for Technotrix is two hospitals literally on the corners where the main stages are positioned, necessitating zero impact on both and the surrounding neighborhood. After three years of doing the main stages, “we’ve had absolutely no noise complaints because of MLA’s Hard Avoid feature and the cardioid sub deployment. The control we have with MLA lets us put the sound where we need it to be and it does a fantastic job eliminating excess noise off site. That, plus we were getting usable coverage out to about 400-450 ft. with just 12 MLA a side.”

In addition, MLA’s pinpoint control allowed the Technotrix crew to create three separate coverage zones throughout the day. For the younger bands earlier in the day, they started with coverage that stopped about 50ft beyond Front of House to draw the crowds in and fill up in front of the stage. Later on, they could create a medium throw that extended the coverage another 100ft and eventually go full out to 450ft with the headliners.

“Our tonality sounded the same no matter what distance throw we were doing, it was absolutely seamless,” Bernhardt explained. “The guest engineers loved mixing on MLA. They thought the system sounded great and couldn’t hear any discernible difference when we switched to the different throws, which was mind blowing for them. That was huge!”