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Martin Audio’s MLA system ‘vastly improves’ sound at Henley Festival

Martin Audio’s MLA floating design speaker system proved a big hit with crowds at Henley Festival this month.

AV solutions provider RG Jones Sound Engineering delivered the PA system for headline acts such as Pet Shop Boys, All Saints and Chaka Khan, choosing Martin Audio’s MLA compact system for a variety of stages.

Around 25,000 people attended this year’s event, which took place just one week after Henley’s famous Royal Regatta. This quick turnaround meant a suitable PA system had to be implemented in the main Floating Stage over the Thames, which has a difficult audience profile to cover (being 30m from front to back, and more than 80m wide).

RG Jones FOH engineer Simon Honywill said: “The new design for the Floating Stage proved to be a vast improvement on what we had previously, and everyone loved it.”

A large section of the Floating Stage audience was seated in the main grandstand inherited from the Regatta, and the low roof over these premium seats meant the PA had to be flown at low level to be able to fire up under the roof and reach the back rows.

RG Jones maintained offsite sound limits under 65dB, while measuring between 100dB-103dB at the FOH desk on the Floating Stage.

In previous years, production had relied on a left/right configuration of six MLX wide in a steered array, but this year, the set-up had two cardioid blocks set together, pointing the sound where it was needed.

“This effectively worked as a single source, making it easier to tie everything together coherently and to time delay the sound,” Honywill added.

Another key to the success was the deployment of eight of Martin Audio’s new Blackline X8 as fills under the grandstand roof. “These sounded really good, and what you get for your money is pretty amazing,” he continued.

Elsewhere there were four other stages or bars featuring live music, three of them (Bedouin, Ronnie Scott’s and Riverside) all featuring Martin Audio PA rigs.

MLA Mini was pole-mounted with a sub on the Bedouin stage, which featured world music, while at the Ronnie Scott’s jazz bar, four MLA Mini enclosures were clamped to the scaffolding. Riverside, meanwhile, had three W8LM, Mini Line Array per side with two WLX subwoofers concealed underneath.

RG Jones’ project engineer Jack Bowcher concluded: “Overall, everyone was very happy with the site coverage and the new sub array was a big success.”