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26/06/2023

Soundworks' Large-Format WPL Optimises Amphitheatre Show

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Virginia-based Soundworks have utilised Martin Audio's large format WPL for sound production for R&B vocal group, Boyz II Men, when the group visited the Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion, a 6,500-cap outdoor amphitheatre in Portsmouth, VA.

It was a venue familiar to the Soundworks team and while load-in and rigging protocols are straightforward there are acoustic challenges to be met, since the venue deploys a tent-like material to cover the first 3,000 seats nearest the stage.

Bryan Hargrave, Soundworks' engineer and system tech for the show commented: "Since we did not have serious noise abatement issues to address, I used the Hard Avoid feature available in [Martin Audio's proprietary] DISPLAY software to prevent reflections and interaction with the tent cover.

"This makes a very positive impact on the sound quality and is appreciated by both band engineer and audience alike."

Bobby Scherberger is the venue production manager and since Martin Audio was listed on the band's rider, once he had cleared the WPL rig with the Boyz II Men production team he contacted Soundworks. "We have worked with Bobby for many years and at numerous different venues. He is aware of Soundworks' equipment and has total confidence in our experience and capability. It's fair to say he has become a fan of Martin Audio's Wavefront Precision," suggested Soundworks president Grant Howard.

Boyz II Men's trio of vocalists, fronting a full backing band, required 56 channel inputs from the stage. And while it was the band production team's first experience with WPL, according to Bryan Hargrave: "it was definitely a two thumbs up situation all around."

To provide optimum coverage for the audience Soundworks hung 12 WPL elements per side, run in two-box resolution from the iKON multichannel amplifiers. Subwoofers comprised 16 SHX218, single amp channel driven in castellated cardioid array. Five WPS provided front fill coverage while four WPS and an SXH218 on either stage wing took care of side fills. Three XE500 stage monitors were provided for the singers' reference sound.

Justifying the two-box resolution set-up, Grant Howard explained that for larger shows they generally power the system in single box resolution and subs in bridged amp channel mode when sufficient power is available. "But another plus with Wavefront Precision is you can adjust the system's resolution and sub power to cut amp channel usage in half with a barely perceptible change in performance," he stated. "As in this case, when we had lots of other events going on simultaneously, the fact that amplifier power/DSP could be rationed enabled us to take on more jobs which obviously means greater profit.

As to the specifics for this show, Bryan emphasised that whenever space permits, they find the castellated cardioid array provides the best overall performance.

"Additionally, the latest version of DISPLAY 3 not only dictates delay times but also takes care of amp gain shading for sub arrays as well. The results we are getting out of the box with very little time or effort expended are excellent."

As always, he paid meticulous attention to the details of rigging and flying the PA, time alignment of subs and front fills and optimization of the system, thus ensuring the Boyz II Men experience was the best it could be. According to him, the band's crew were "top notch" and included production manager, John Lopez, FOH engineer, Bill Fegley, and monitor engineer, John Eline.

As Soundworks of Virginia plunges headlong into Festival season, CEO and founder Steve Payne couldn't be more effusive about his investment in Martin Audio's new generation technology.

"It is hard to imagine that I could be more pleased with the impact Wavefront Precision has had on our business. Our WPC and WPS systems are covering venues we have been serving for years with greatly improved results over our previous systems. Everyone—the client, the attendees, the security guards—everyone comments on the great sound."

President Grant Howard shares in the enthusiasm and added "Our WPL system allows us to cover 7,500 capacity sheds with ease. I used to pass on shows that I knew would tax our previous system—I did not want to take on a job if I did not feel we could knock it out of the park.

"With WPL we bid in total confidence on everything that comes our way. We know that we can compete neck and neck with anything out there. It's a great feeling."

martin-audio.com
VMI.TV Ltd

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