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Martin Audio debuts MLA Compact internationally at pl+s 2012

On the heels of its formal launch at London's HMV Hammersmith Apollo in February 2012, Martin Audio's MLA Compact line made its international debut at Prolight + Sound 2012 in Frankfurt and was highlighted at infoComm 2012, and Plasa, London 2012. A smaller and lighter version, the MLA Comapct makes multi-cellular loudspeaker array technology by Martin available to a wider range of touring and installed sound applications and is featured at ISE 2013, Amsterdam.
Incorporating the same principles that have made the MLA success on the international touring circuit, MLA Compact delivers this cellular technology to applications that do not require the full power and throw of the full-size MLA. Stated Director of Sales, Simon Bull, “MLA Compact is our response to the market demand for a mid-size touring system that can double as an installation system, while retaining all the breakthrough benefits of the original MLA system. MLA Compact enables a much wider segment to buy into our game-changing Multi-cellular technology.”
The new system’s compact size (W: 788mm x H: 280mm x D: 500mm) belies its output capabilities — a 12-box array can easily deliver full rock SPLs in a 5,000 seat venue, whilst a 24-box array will approach the output of many ‘full-size’ systems which have less efficient acoustic elements. Scalable and versatile, MLA Compact is suitable for application in Concert Halls, Ballrooms, Theatres and Houses of Worship, and is the natural choice as a side-hang or front-fill companion to the full-size MLA.
MLA’s cellular array design combines with fast, automated Display 2.1 intelligent software to deliver a dramatically increased level of performance and coverage consistency compared to conventional line array technology.
MLA Compact arrays can be remotely controlled from the supplied wireless tablet running VU-NET control software. Class D amplification, U-NET control network and DSP circuitry are integrated within each enclosure, simplifying system set-up and operation and eliminating long, heavy-gauge cable runs — a particular benefit in premium fixed installations. Reducing cable runs to just inches within the enclosure means that all the power produced by the amplifier goes directly to the speakers and is not dissipated in the cables.
From the outset, MLA Compact has been designed with the financial and environmental aspects of running a system in mind; use of maximum-efficiency acoustic and amplifier technologies reduce both the size and weight of the system, assisting transportation as well as reducing the mains or generator power needed to run the system.
Sonically, the 3-way MLA Compact delivers power, clarity and detail, with a peak output capability of 135dB LF, 135dB midrange and 135dB HF, per box at 1 metre. MLA Compact’s LF section utilises 2 × 10" (250mm)/2.5" (63mm) voice coil, neodymium drive units in a Hybrid configuration. Each driver is slot-loaded into a truncated horn with a low flare rate, to give a high sensitivity of 103dB @ 1m/2.83V.
MLA Compact Module
MLA Compact has completely separate, mid and HF horns with horizontal constant directivity characteristics — so the horizontal off-axis response tracks the on-axis response exactly. The mid horn utilises 2 × 5" (125mm)/1.5" (38mm) voice coil neodymium drivers to produce 109dB @ 1m/2.83V, while the 5" cone/0.7" compression driver combination replaces the more traditionally used large format compression driver and has less distortion, as well as having a much more extended HF response.
MLA Compact’s HF section utilises 4 × 0.7" (19mm) exit neodymium compression drivers which feed separate horns for true 100° horizontal constant directivity. In the vertical plane, MLA Compact makes significant advances over previous thinking by adopting new criteria for vertical wavefront curvature.
With an extremely high output level, compact size and advanced DSP-based realisation of directional arrays, the DSX more than meets the challenge of a powerful subwoofer. Capable of 146dB peak output at 1m (half space, measured), the DSX powered and networked subwoofer is an incredible performer. Its high output level is achieved by combining state-of-the-art LF driver technology with an onboard Class D amplifier module which can deliver 6kW peak power.
The DSX features 2 × 18" (450mm)/4" (100m) voice coil, ferrite drivers in a reflex-loaded enclosure with four flared ports, carefully designed to improve linear airflow. Each driver is housed in its own separate chamber to move any cabinet resonances out of band. Sonically, the DSX is a perfect balance of low frequency extension and punch.
A flying version, the DSX-F Sub, can be flown alongside or at the top of MLA Compact arrays, as well as being ground stacked. A maximum of 15 DSX-F can be suspended from the MLA flying frame and symmetrical rigging allows flown DSX-F cabinets to face backwards — enabling directional flown as well as directional ground stacked arrays to be configured.
The ground-stack DSX can be upgraded to the DSX–F by the addition of an easy-to-fit accessory kit.
Each MLA Compact enclosure is fitted with a state-of-the-art five-channel amplifier module — with high-efficiency Class D circuitry delivering a total of 2.1kW continuous and 4.2kW peak output. One channel powers both LF drivers in parallel and two channels drive each mid independently. For the HF section, two channels drive the four HF drivers in parallel pairs, making a total of five independently powered acoustic cells per enclosure. Lightweight, switched-mode power supplies, auto-range to global mains voltages from 100 to 240V 50/60Hz, whilst Power Factor Correction smoothes out the mains current draw over the whole of the AC waveform. The amplifier section is designed to withstand rain and ambient temperatures of up to 45°C and features advanced protection ─ amplifier monitoring via U-NET includes input signal, output signal at the drive unit terminals, limiter status, heatsink temperatures and driver fault conditions.
The onboard DSP performs all crossover and EQ functions via a combination of IIR and advanced FIR filtering — fast VanishingPoint™ FIR filters give the freedom to physically separate the mid and HF horns — so they do not compromise each other’s constant directivity dispersion pattern, yet achieve the spatial performance of a single device.
Arrays can be remotely controlled over U-NET from the supplied wireless tablet running VU-NET™ control software with its intuitive graphical interface. VU-NET also enables the user to switch on enclosure identification LEDs with automatic identification of neighbouring enclosures and connectivity confirmation.
MLA Compact’s rigging system combines speed with precision. Up to 24 enclosures can be suspended via its two-point-lift flybar, and the same hardware can also be used for single point lifting of up to 12 cabinets, as well as ground stacking up to 6 high.
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