The War of the Worlds
If taking HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds from the printed page and into the recording studio was a major undertaking, so was taking the show on the road. The first live production went out in 2006, and was followed with a series of tours. Last year it was a Martin Audio W8LC and W8LM system that served FOH but this has now been replaced with the company’s MLA.

UK audio production company RG Jones Sound Engineering supplied both systems and regards the new system as offering ‘a radical new aural experience’. ‘Although the W8LC is a fabulous sounding system, nothing had prepared me for the MLA,’ says RG Jones Head of Sound, Simon Honywill, who piloted the system. ‘This is the most revolutionary product in the audio industry that I have yet encountered.’

Honywill had prompted both Jeff Wayne himself and RG Jones Sound Engineering – also responsible for the sound on Glastonbury Festival’s main stage – to field the new MLA (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array) system, having attended the original behind-closed-doors launch at Earls Court in 2010.

‘I was absolutely blown away by that demo and was determined then that it should go out on this tour,’ he says. ‘Jeff Wayne is a great supporter of any new technology that will improve the quality of the show and he agreed immediately that we had to have it.’

Mark Edwards, Simon Honywill and Martyn ‘Ferrit’ Rowe
Mark Edwards, Simon Honywill
and Martyn ‘Ferrit’ Rowe

The tour features 36 members of the British Philharmonic Orchestra string section alongside a ten-piece ensemble, the narration of Richard Burton and various well-known British singers (including original contributors Justin Hayward and Chris Thompson). Joining the performers onstage was a hydraulically driven 40-foot tall Martian Fighting Machine equipped with flame throwers and a robotic camera.

The scalable MLA rig varied from ten to 16 elements a side, with the PA hangs set high and extremely wide. As a result, additional flown infill arrays of eight Martin Audio W8LM’s covered the centre section of the audience, while W8LC arrays (up to 16 per side) provided 270° outfill coverage. Under the stage, 14 MLX subwoofers were set in two broadside arc/cardioid arrays – positioned around 7m apart – and giving 120° of coverage and around 20dB of rejection to the rear. At the back of the venue three additional arrays of up to six W8LM’s were flown as LCR surround enclosures (with four additional W8LM’s concealed in the front edge for the front seat rows).

When it was first fired up during production rehearsals, Simon Honywill remembers that everyone gasped in astonishment: ‘The mix was pretty much straight in the ball park but in places it has now become unbelievably deep. The system was highlighting surprising detail and Jeff Wayne was gobsmacked. In fact this is the most musical PA I’ve ever heard. The consistency of the horizontal coverage is amazing and I’ve been getting an extra 5-6dB of gain on the strings.

‘In fact, with the MLA, it has become possible to mic the strings in such a way as to not have to worry about gain before feedback and destructive EQ.’

MLA’s ability to create an ‘exclusion zone’ within the vertical coverage pattern has been key to overcoming reflections coming back from the walls and corporate boxes.

Martyn ‘Ferrit’ Rowe, Martin Audio’s Technical Training Manager, who had babysat the system early on – advising on areas where the sound could be tapered to reduce some of the reflections – was soon happy to pass these duties over to system tech Mark Edwards, who worked alongside Simon Honywill on the last WOTW tour. ‘With all the improvements Martin Audio have made in their Display2 optimisation software the whole process of inputting the venue dimensions and designing a PA is highly intuitive,’ he says. ‘The linearity of the frequency response is unlike anything I have heard before.’

‘You have so much detail appearing because the audio has been mapped onto the audience area quite precisely,’ Honywill agrees. ‘You have to keep pinching yourself and walking the room to prove that it’s really happening. I’m excited to be involved in such a revolutionary product which completely and utterly changes the game – and privileged that it should be on this production of War Of The Worlds, which is a really striking work.’

More: www.martin-audio.com

TwitterGoogle BookmarksRedditLinkedIn Pin It

Fast Moves

  • Phil Millross: PMC Phil Millross: PMC
    Phil Millross has been appointed by UK-based loudspeaker manufacturer PMC as Business Development Manager for Studio Products in the UK and Ireland. Formerly a Senior Design Engineer, Millross has been...
    Read More...
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 32
  • 33
  • 34
  • 35
  • 36
  • 37
  • 38
  • 39
  • 40
  • 41
  • 42
  • 43
  • 44
  • 45
  • 46
  • 47
  • 48
  • 49
  • 50
  • 51
  • 52
  • 53
  • 54
  • 55
  • 56
  • 57
  • 58
  • 59
  • 60
  • 61
  • 62
  • 63
  • 64
  • 65
  • 66
  • 67
  • 68
  • 69
  • 70
  • 71
  • 72
  • 73
  • 74
  • 75
  • 76
  • 77
  • 78
  • 79
  • 80
  • 81
  • 82
  • 83
  • 84
  • 85
  • 86
  • 87
  • 88
  • 89
  • 90
  • 91
  • 92
  • 93
  • 94
  • 95
  • 96
  • 97
  • 98
  • 99
  • 100

Fast News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
Fast-and-Wide.com An independent news site and blog for professional audio and related businesses, Fast-and-Wide.com provides a platform for discussion and information exchange in one of the world's fastest-moving technology-based industries.
Fast Touch:
Author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
Fast Thinking:Marketing:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web: Latitude Hosting