The debut of Martin Audio’s new WPS line array on comedian Eddie Izzard’s recent tour that Capital Sound has extended its inventory after winning the bid for Tim Minchin’s tour – since the two UK itineraries overlapped.

The latest model in the Wavefront Precision series, WPS offers scalable resolution for flexibility in amplifier management and optimisation of coverage, consistency and control. In addition to stand-up comedy, WPS also needed to reproduce a full band for Minchi, whose grand piano was supported by brass, keys, bass and guitar, requiring 56 inputs at the sound desk. FOH engineer Dave Roden, has worked through many generations of Martin Audio PA’s over the years with his regular charges, the Stereophonics (and recently with their lead singer Kelly Jones). Roden had been asked to seek alternative bids for the tour when Capital Sound’s Paul Timmins intervened.

WPS line array

‘Dave had possibly been considering another brand solution due to its weight and size when I mentioned the Martin Audio WPS system which I thought would also meet the criteria, when other systems would have been too heavy,’ he says. ‘I told him about the success of WPS on the Eddie Izzard tour and he seemed happy with the solution. Martin Connolly worked up the quotation and we were successful, after it went out to tender. The additional WPS inventory now gives us two systems – or one large four-hang system.’

‘As with any new touring PA, it requires pioneers to road test,’ says Martin Audio MD, Dom Harter. ‘Given that the WPS software configuration within Display optimisation was still Beta, we were grateful to Capital and the production team for having faith and running WPS through its paces.’

The weight factor had been critical as Roden knew he required 14 elements per side to deliver consistent sound to all corners of the theatres where multiple balconies are involved. ‘We are entering a new era where production teams are increasingly concerned about weight loading and coverage,’ Timmins says. ‘Five years ago, a 49kg box would have been fantastic, but now we are looking at 29kg for the WPS, which is incredible really for a big sounding system with a lot of grunt.’

With Nick Boulton serving as system tech, having been with Roden on Kelly Jones’ tour, Martin Audio Product Support Engineer Robin Dibble oversaw the set-up of the system, which also incorporates SX218 subwoofers, four per side, with four XD12 for balcony fill and four WPM for front fill.

FOH engineer Dave Roden‘The weight of the frames and the cabinets has been a real advantage, as almost all venues we’re touring have extremely limited point weights,’ Boulton says. ‘The physical size of the cabinets means we can put more up without compromising sightlines, which means more ticket sales while also achieving the coverage and level we need for what has turned from musical comedy into quite a demanding rock show.

‘Even though the software is still in development, the sonic results are excellent. Personally I think the WPS sounds better than MLA straight out of the box. It’s also a lot quicker and easier to fly due to the three-point rigging and the reduced weight.’

Boulton has run the system in both one- and two-box resolutions: ‘The results have been excellent with both, however in one-box resolution you do get similar consistency and control to that you experience with MLA. Although the two-box resolution still sounds great, there are – as expected – greater tonal and level variations.

‘For a platform that is still in development both Dave Roden and I are continually impressed with how it sounds every day,’ he adds. ‘It sounds amazing and consistent and has been rock solid with no failures.’

Looking to the future Timmins says: ‘Buying into WPS is the first stage of investment into the next generation of Martin Audio’s Wavefront Precision series, and we expect to end up with a five-system package over the next two or three years.’

More: www.martin-audio.com

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