Martin Audio MLA makes its mark with Coolritiba

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Already recognised for its high-profile appearance at Brazil’s famous Rock in Rio festival, Martin Audio’s MLA multicellular loudspeaker array also provided main stage artists at the annual Festival Coolritiba in Curitiba, nearly 500 miles further south, with exemplary sound. Headliners included Marisa Monte, Sandy, Mano Brown and the legendary Gilberto Gil - but it was the influence of Marisa Monte’s sound engineer, Daniel Carvalho, that brought about the change from the originally specified festival system.

He had been piloting the mix on the famous singer’s Portas tour through an MLA, provided by predominant rental company Gabisom (who also service Rock in Rio). Coolritiba was part of their 100-show tour schedule where Marisa Monte was top of the bill. Daniel Carvalho reports: “The festival had requested [another brand], but since we were headliners, and they were renting from Gabisom as well, we asked if they could switch to MLA for the festival.” And so, they shipped out the boxes to complement the touring rig.

The results, he said, were incredible. “For many [engineers] it was their first time with Martin Audio and all techs loved the sound. The Rap guys didn’t ask for additional subs and the promoter himself said he wants the same set-up for next year. Everybody agreed that it was the best sound ever heard at the site, including the Gabisom crew. Other sound engineers lined up to sing the system’s praises based on their Coolritiba experience. Maycon Mendes, Sandy’s engineer, said, “Every time I use Martin Audio I am impressed, with the clarity of the highs, the definition of transients and the coverage are impressive and, my master equaliser remains flat. So, it`s just happiness all round.” Gustavo Mendes, Gilberto Gil’s tech added, “Thanks for the opportunity of using the MLA system, which is for sure the best PA we used in this Gilberto Gil tour.” Daniel Carvalho himself is well qualified to have recommended the system. He has been handling Marisa Monte’s live mix since 2015 and was a studio engineer prior to that during which time he has become an eight times Latin Grammy Award winner as mastering engineer and mixer.

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He first encountered MLA when mixing a band at Rock in Rio in 2015. “Someone from Martin Audio showed me the DISPLAY software and introduced me to the system.” From that day on he was sold. “When the Portas tour came around, I told Gabi from Gabisom, that I would love to try the Martin Audio system. It was love at first hear. At a stadium in Belo Horizonte, Marisa`s manager came to front-of-house and asked, ‘What happened today? The voice is so clear”. I told him it was our new PA and he said ok let`s use this one from now on.”

At Coolritiba, where a crowd of around 20,000 fans assembled, the main PA was rigged as an L/C/R system with 15 MLA and a single MLD downfill at the base of each hang. Outfills comprised seven MLA plus an MLD downfill; there was a delay fill of six further MLA, with six MLA Compact as front fills. The rig, which Daniel Carvalho also helped design, incorporated a generous array of 32 MLX subwoofers arranged in castellated broadside configuration.

Asked what he loves in particular about MLA, Daniel is unequivocal. “It is easy to design and deploy. The array processing ensures every position in the house sounds the same. And it’s very forgiving; when we have to make sudden changes at venues without the need to recalculate angles - it’s just a matter of changing the preset of EQ settings and the sound delivers precisely what we need. “Thanks go to Gabi for placing this much-loved PA in our hands,” he says in conclusion, “and to Josiel Silva and Diego Talasca for rigging everything so expertly.”