The recent Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in Raleigh, NC included Marathon and half Marathon races culminating in a series of concerts at the Red Hat amphitheater with a Martin Audio MLA Compact system deployed by RMB Audio.
Gavin DeGraw was the headliner for the first night with opening acts Jason Adamo and Mark Scibilia, followed by St. Lucia, Four Founders and Look Homeward celebrating the close of the marathon run. As always, the implicit problem to overcome at Red Hat was controlling sound given the venue’s location in the heart of the city opposite the convention center with residential housing located close behind the amphitheater.
Asked about the challenges for this event, Wayne Sowder, project leader for RMB Audio, explains: “One of the bigger issues this year was ensuring that we had even low end coverage throughout the park without exceeding the city’s low frequency and SPL limits. The measurement metering device is not only susceptible to things like the low kick drums, but also city busses with diesel engines, all of which are around 63 Hz. Every time a bus pulls up behind the venue to let people off, we get a little spike in the SPL metering as the measurement is at the rear of the venue.
“With a band that has impact like Gavin DeGraw, you can get to the city’s 94 dB noise limit pretty quickly” Wayne continues. “Fortunately, the MLA main hangs give us the control to focus a lot of that energy and volume and keep it within the park so we give everyone a loud rock and roll experience without having the neighbors calling and complaining about the noise.
“And because the amphitheater faces the Raleigh Convention Center you also get a lot of reflections with traditional systems, but with MLA you can avoid the building which improves the on stage situation considerably.”
Setup for the show included 12 Martin Audio MLA Compact a side with 16 DSX subs ground-stacked in front of the stage in a broadside array optimized via delay adjustments to balance the coverage and make it more even. Four W8LM speakers were used for front fills.
“Gavin DeGraw’s FOH engineer was very happy mixing on the MLA system in terms of the coverage and audio quality,” adds Wayne. “The music is a mix of 60s and 70s soul with country and rock and roll thrown in, and it does have significant bottom end. In fact, there was someone filming in front of the stage who kept apologizing for distortions in the video feed because the PA and the subs were so powerful.
“Overall, the system performed really well,” Wayne concludes. “The Red Hat really benefits from the steerable technology MLA provides that allowed us to maintain the SPL levels in the park for the fans without disturbing the neighbors outside.”
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