The Max at Amsterdam’s Melkweg

Located in the prime nightlife area of Lijnbaansgracht in Amsterdam, Melkweg is the second largest venue in Holland and one of the capital’s most unique music and culture hubs, attracting more than half a million visitors each year. The former milk factory (giving the venue its name) is divided into a number of spaces, including four halls for varying genres of music, a cinema, a restaurant and an exhibition space. Its largest 1,500-capacity concert hall, The Max, is known for hosting international acts like Prince and Arctic Monkeys.

The Max recently completed a sound makeover, with an L-Acoustics K2 system now installed by Audiobizz.

Hosting 1,500 events each year, including night-time DJ shows that require good bass impact, it was imperative for the team to have a versatile system with interchangeable sub configurations. Additionally, the system had to be rider-friendly, due to the high number of touring crews performing at the venue and using its in-house PA system.

L-Acoustics K2‘We had been running our old sound system in The Max for over ten years, and with our music programmes getting more and more diverse in style and genre, including bass-heavy DJ shows, we felt it was time for an upgrade so we could fully satisfy our roster of visiting crews and offer them the best-sounding PA system for their performances,’ explains Eugene van Dijk, head of Melkweg’s technical team.

To select the new audio system, the Melkweg technical team invited several suppliers to demo their offerings over a six-week period. ‘We listened to all the systems with a group of technicians and marked down all the pros and the cons of each,’ continues Van Dijk. ‘In the end, L-Acoustics,demoed by Audiobizz was a clear winner for us as it delivered the best-sounding audio for the room.’

Following the successful presentation, the Dutch A/V integrator proceeded with design and deployment of the system in the venue.

The final set up comprises LR main arrays of seven K2 per side, with Panflex set to 55° on the inside and 35° on the outside to avoid reflections from the sidewalls. Only three positions were available for subwoofers under the stage – one on either side, directly under the K2 arrays, and one in the centre. The tight spaces allowed for three K1-SB on each side, and six SB18 in the centre.

Having these three clusters of subs in a horizontal array offered the possibility to adjust the directivity of the bass frequencies through electronically altering the delay times between the inner and outer clusters, keeping the energy away from the bar on the side of the room and ensuring the staff feels comfortable over extended periods.

For performances with a DJ booth placed in front of the stage, the centre subs can be switched off if necessary. For in fill, two ARCS WiFo per side are positioned in a horizontal array; their directivity projecting energy to the audience while keeping the stage clean. To deal with blind spots, nine 5XT cover HF on and below the side balconies. For the back of the venue, two X8 downstairs and two upstairs provide full-range coverage for the last 5m. All mains and subs are powered with nine LA12X amplified controllers, with the fills distributed via three LA4X.

Van Dijk notes that this is the most powerful system they’ve ever had at The Max: ‘It was the first time that such a configuration of speakers was used, but we are very happy we made that choice because it gives us all the low end we need for our multitude of performances.’

And the K2 has delivered ROI from the start: ‘People can check our house rider and see that the system we have in-house is one of the systems mentioned on almost every technical rider. Since it was installed, 100 per cent of all visiting crews have used our in-house PA. This means that our investment started paying dividends from day one.’

‘I’ve been a sound engineer for a long time, so I am very familiar with L-Acoustics and K2, which has now become an industry standard and it’s a fantastic system to work with,’ concludes Van Dijk. ‘Everyone has been really happy with the system. When you have visiting crews entering the venue and being instantly impressed by your in-house PA, you know you’ve made the right choice.’

More: www.l-acoustics.com

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