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Imelda May engineer hails ‘unbelievable’ Martin Audio MLA system

Nick Ingram, FOH sound engineer for Imelda May, has hailed the performance of Martin Audio’s MLA Compact PA on her current tour in support of her latest album Life Love Flesh Blood.

The system was recommended by Capital Sound’s Paul Timmins and, while this was the first time Nick had taken the system out, he was no stranger to the platform, having previously mixed his other charge, Jake Bugg through the system.

“I experienced MLA at Hyde Park [British Summer Time] and the sound was unbelievable,” he said. “After all the historic problems with noise restrictions on the site, Hyde Park is now somewhere you look forward to rather than with dread. I also mixed Jake on the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury with the MLA Compact — I thought there was never going to be enough PA [to carry] but once again it was fantastic.”

May’s system is based around 24 MLA Compact enclosures, with 12 elements hung on each side of the stage. Handling the low frequencies are eight WS218X subs, while the company’s DD6s have been deployed as lip fills and some XD12’s, sat wide, perform both outfill and infill duties.

Imelda May is presently supported by seven backing musicians — but this will grow for the occasional show, with additional horns and backing vocals. This set-up occupies around 34 inputs on the Midas PRO 2C console.

Timmins said of the relationship between system techs Dan Draper and Ingram: “We are pleased to have brought him into the fold and he seems able to second guess what a sound engineer wants.” Nick Ingram agrees. “Since I’m more of a musician and sound engineer than a technical person, I need someone like Dan who can explain everything to me.”

In terms of tuning and profiling MLA there has been little work required in the dedicated Display software other than to run the sound open, full range and flat. “I want the sound to be as natural as possible, and MLA is astonishing,” said Ingram.

Timmins, who has been offering production support to tour manager, Brett Spence, added: “This is a different type of music source for MLA, the clarity of the sound is fantastic and Nick gets a really big sound without making it excessively loud. These shows feel really comfortable.”