My first recollection of Martin Audio was a Beach Boys concert in the ‘70s. I remember the thundering low end from stacks of gigantic Martin bass bins, which left a great impression.
Years later, Martin is a premier name in pro concert audio; the company offers line array to subs to monitors, such as the new LE Series, of which I auditioned the LE1200.
(click thumbnail)The Martin Audio LE1200 is a most attractive little package in textured matte black finish with a smooth finished matte black grille featuring no visible screws. The cabinet is an ultra-low profile teardrop design and weighs in at a mere 46 lbs., measuring 24-inches wide, 12-inches tall and 19-inches deep. There are handles routered into the side of the cabinet. The connector panel is located on the bottom, accessed through a slick little channel that allows for good-sized cables to access the dual parallel NL4 connectors. Also on this bottom plate is a hefty switch, permitting operation in either bi-amped or passive operation. The cabinet is additionally fitted with rigging hardware should the need arise to fly the LE1200 as a fill in a non-monitor/short throw application.
The Martin LE1200 contains a custom 12-inch cone, three-inch voice coil and ultra-extended excursion low-frequency speaker, coupled with a 1.5-inch exit Titanium/Neo compression driver with a 60-degree x 100-degree “Differential Dispersion Horn.” The 12-inch woofer is best supported by a power amp in the 400 – 500 Watt @ 8 ohms power range, and the compression driver with about 80 – 100 Watts at 16 ohms; if operation is intended to be in passive mode, use a power amp in the 500 – 700 Watt RMS range.
Martin offers these specs: LF efficiency is 98 dB at 1W/1Meter, and the HF driver is 106 dB 1W/1Meter, with an overall full-range sensitivity of 97 dB 1W/1Meter. Maximum sound pressure level exerted (keeping with those same numbers) is a full-range output in excess of 123 dB continuous output. Martin offers an optional proprietary crossover/controller for bi-amped use that offers EQ and current limiting, thus controlling the excursion of the two individual components and eliminating potential damage risks. The DX-1 controller is also helpful with use of the LE1200 in passive mode.
Touring, concerts, club stage monitors
Bi-amped or passive, low profile, hidden cable connectors
Martin Audio | 519-747-5853 | www.martin-audio.comFirst, I spent the better part of two hours in the shop with the LE1200, bi-amped using Yorkville AP4040 power amps for the low end and Yorkville AP800 for the highs. The processor was a BSS MiniDrive, set to the specs provided by Martin. The test console used was a 48-channel Midas Legend 3000. I inserted Klark-Teknik Square One graphic EQs into several mix outputs, allowing me to try the Martin wedge in several angles and locations.
With the LE1200 dead flat, I noticed a pretty smooth sound right out of the box. Using an Audix OM7 as the test mic (a supercardioid pattern), I did a normal monitor ring-out. I used my own voice, boosting the EQ fader by fader to search for overly sensitive frequencies.
I found the Martin monitors exceptionally smooth in the vocal range, and I was able to create a feedback-free environment with only minor graphic EQ in seven- or eight-frequency cuts, none more than 3 – 5 dB. The manufacturer describes a useable frequency range of 64 Hz – 18 kHz; I confirmed that figure by using a Phonic PAA3 as the measurement device. In addition, I found exceptionally high SPL output; the PAA3 supported the manufacturer’s number very closely. (I was not in an anechoic chamber or even close; rather, I was in a tin roof shop, and you know what that sounds like.) Armed with the knowledge that the LE1200 was a happening little monitor, I to employed it at shows.
I brought the Martin wedge to six different shows and parked it in several relevant applications, including vocal monitor, keyboard monitor, bass player’s wedge and drum wedge. Obviously, attaining earth-shaking low end from a 2.5 cubic foot box is unlikely, but it was impressive nonetheless, providing decent kick drum low end without a subwoofer. I was most impressed with the LE1200’s exceptionally nice midrange quality as a vocal monitor, as well as its ability to cut through a loud onstage mix without feeding back or being painful.
Things that truly enamored the LE1200 to me were its low profile, light weight and ability to work in any scenario, hi-fi to high volume. I recommend Martin Audio’s high-quality, attractive monitors without reservation.