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Mixing Manilow through MLA on farewell tour

Martin Audio provided the arena sound

Veteran American sound engineer Ken Newman carried on where he left off in the States when Barry Manilow’s One Last Time tour arrived in the UK on its trip around the globe — with Martin Audio’s MLA providing the arena sound.

Capital Sound supplied the rig, but unlike the previous dates, the 10 UK shows had the advantage of being run digitally.

With MLA tech Russ Cunningham and PA/stage tech Nick Cook in support, the main PA comprised 11 x MLA and an MLD Downfill each side, while the sidefill component started with hangs of 12 x MLA Compact per side, but increased to 16 for the larger 20,000 capacity O2 Arena in London.

Flown in the rig, between the main and side PA, were three MLX subs — mostly set at 45 degrees to the main rig — while a further 14 W8LM Mini Line Arrays acted as frontfills/outfills with four further MLX on the ground.

Newman says: “I didn’t hesitate to use a new speaker system, even though it’s the end of an era for Barry Manilow. Although Barry did his first ‘final tour’ in 2004, and subsequently landed in Las Vegas where he stayed until 2011, it sounds like it’s for real this time.”

On the speaker system, Newmays says: “I was able to experience the system using recorded music and it was better than I had expected, in terms of evenness of coverage. It brings every detail of the performance to every seat in the house, without making it uncomfortably loud for anyone.”

A production ‘tweak’ included the decision to fly the subs, which was instigated by Newman himself. “For the 2015 part of the US tour, we had only ground subs, three per side in cardioid mode. I commented to Phil Reynolds that it would be nice if there were more subwoofer energy up in the side seats, so he suggested that the next time we went out, we should fly a few subs between the MLA and the MLA Compact clusters. So in 2016 the flown subs were added, and they greatly improved the coverage of sub-100Hz energy.”