apex

A calendar of amplified rock and folk events quickly found the PA system at the new £18.5m apex multi-purpose venue in Bury St Edmunds (UK) wanting. New Technical Manager Tim Carr was quick to react, making a Martin Audio W8LM Mini Line Array system part of its permanent technical infrastructure.

Although the work went out to tender and several sound systems were put forward as potential solutions, Carr had prior experience of Martin Audio’s Mini Line Array and was soon talking to W1’s Stuart Turvill about a permanent install.

The venue has two balcony levels and a ground level that can be reconfigured into a number of different performance arrangements, making versatility and even coverage essential. On the ground floor, seating is fixed to floating air-bearing wagons and can be transferred to the basement via a pit lift for storage when not required; thus the venue can hold up to 650 (standing), 515 in raked (or flat floor) theatre style seating, or operate in the round.

As the venue designed principally for classical concerts using a striking Californian oak shell, the acoustics present problems when the music is amplified. ‘It is a very live venue, which we can tame using acoustic blinds,’ Carr confirms. ‘I use these as baffles when folk or rock bands appear.’

The solution devised by Turvill and Carr was to install four W8L and two W8LM Downfill boxes per side, with each hang supported by a pair of Martin Audio WMX hybrid bass bins. Two pairs of wide dispersion Martin Audio ultra-compact Differential Dispersion DD6s, mounted high up on the lighting truss, act as overhang/underhang balcony fills. The remaining pair of DD6s are floor-mounted and angled on the lip of the stage for front fill, alongside six Martin Audio LE1200 floor monitors which the performers use for reference sound. The system is optimised using a dedicated DX2 loudspeaker management system.

‘It was a no brainer to recommend the W8LM in view of the price and performance,’ says Turvill. ‘We rarely get the opportunity to fly the WMX subs – but in this case the design fitted nicely with the venue and it improved the coverage.

‘As for the DD6s, Tim came up with these and it was a brilliant suggestion as their wide dispersion characteristics provide the perfect solution. A switch at the rear of the DD6 selects which cable pair drives the speaker – and to be able to flick the switch between pins 1 and 2, without cables running everywhere, is an extremely efficient solution. The speakers also sound very nice.’

‘I always anticipated we would opt for the Martin Audio system,’ Carr adds, ‘not just because of the attractive price but also the fact that having already heard the system I knew how much I liked it. It’s certainly proving very popular.’

Architect on the project was Hopkins Architects, while Haymills were the building contractors and Carr & Angier were the original acoustic consultants.

More: www.theapex.co.uk
More: www.martin-audio.com

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