By Clive Young.
The Zac Brown Band is on the concert trail, stumping for its sophomore album, You Get What You Give. While the shed tour is a victory lap of sorts for the Best New Artist Grammy winners for 2010, it also features a major debut, as it's the first US tour to use Martin Audio’s new Multicellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) system. Pro Sound News checked it out a mere five dates into the journey at the Comcast Theatre in Hartford, CT, and here’s some of what we saw:
If you’re listening for a system’s musicality, it helps to have a particularly musical act coming through it, and the Zac Brown Band delivered. With a show that ranged from its top-10 country hits to old-school gospel to a warp-speed cover of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” the band showcased not only its chops and eclectic tastes, but its members’ ability to listen to each other as well—such as was done by (l-r) Jimmy De Martini, Brown and Clay Cook, seen here belting through Sennheiser microphones.
The Martin MLA rig—and the rest of the system—are provided by Winston-Salem, NC-based Special Event Services (SES), with PA tech Preston Soper keeping tabs on it, aided and abetted by Martyn ‘Ferrit’ Rowe, Martin Audio’s North American-based Technical Training Manager. Each box in the MLA rig sports six cells can be individually addressed by its own DSP. As a result, within the 24-box rig, there’s 144 cells, each uniquely tuned based on an acoustic model of the venue. The result is a system that lives up to the hype—the sound was crystal clear and the SPL levels were consistent throughout the venue from the front to the back.
Front-of-house engineer/production manager Eric Roderick is out with an Avid Venue D-Show on this run, stepping up from the Profile he’d used previously. The opening acts join the ZBB towards the end of the night, building up to a stage filled with 12 musicians (most of them multi-instrumentalists) with nine vocals running, hence Roderick needs the extra channels. Look for more on the Zac Brown Band tour and the Martin MLA system in the September, 2010 issue of Pro Sound News.