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Fatboy Slim takes Martin Audio MLA on a round trip

An audio system and setup was designed for Slim's tours that includes the MLA and a stage design placing the DJ in a revolving centre

Fatboy Slim’s touring audio system includes Martin Audio’s MLA, adding to the whole production by providing strength enough for large venues whilst simultaneously echoing the effect of a nightclub. 

In 2016, Capital Sound Hire’s technical manager, Robin Conway, designed an audio system for an in-the-round presentation of Fatboy Slim (aka Norman Cook) at the O2 Arena, using the Martin Audio MLA with a stage design placing the DJ in the centre.

“All of a sudden with the DJ booth in the middle you forget you’re in a big arena. We worked out that’s a way of turning an arena into a huge nightclub,” Cook declared. “You get all the benefits of collective euphoria with the budget to do a very big production. “

When he later announced his biggest arena tour yet, with six dates fittingly called The Round Trip – with a revolving stage in the centre, circular overhead video, confetti cannons, and pyro – Capital decided to extend this ‘boxing match meets rave’ concept by increasing the ordinance of the PA.

To pull off this production, including the largest DJ show ever seen at Wembley’s SSE Arena, Capital had to meet a number of challenges, notably the location of the mix position (30 metres from the mother grid, near the conventional monitor world), while fighting with the vast amount of overhead hardware.

Conway explained: “Whereas, last time we fielded four hangs of four MLA and two hangs of MLA Compact, this time we had six hangs of MLA above the video screen, as close to the centre as possible.”

The speakers also had to be trimmed 10m from the floor to preserve sight lines. However, the most complicated element was the subs. This comprised a flown MLX system of four independent hangs with five elements in each hang, right above the DJ’s head. Conway said: “These were all positioned close together, firing inwards, to create a perfect omnidirectional sub-source.”

Eight Martin Audio DD12s were also deployed, two on each side of the square stage, for front-fills.

In terms of sound optimisation, Marty Beath programmed a core design in the dedicated Display software, building six cross-sectional files every day from the centre of the room, with all speakers under proprietary Vu-Net control.