Last Autumn Martin Audio partner, 22live, completed its first full production tour, with arguably the greatest cover band on the road today.
The Australian Pink Floyd show, which provides an authentic tribute to the original band, has long used Martin Audio PA on tour.
For the band’s late 2022 UK tour Paul Timmins, now hire director and one of the founders of the recently formed pro-audio service company, 22live, was reunited with the long-term team of band manager Kevin Hopgood, production manager Chris Gadd, and FOH engineer Trevor Gilligan.
There were a number of factors to consider for Timmins, along with 22live technical director, Simon Gladstone, and operations director Stefan Phillips, when they were preparing their bid as a new player in the market. In addition to general touring economics this included the choice of PA.
With regard to the latter, 22live knew they couldn’t offer Gilligan, who has toured with earlier generations of Martin Audio Wavefront, anything other than the latest scalable Wavefront Precision line array solution—but they were also up against timing constraints.
“WHAT CAN I SAY … I LOVE THIS SYSTEM! IT’S GREAT TO BE BACK ON THE MARTIN AUDIO GEAR. IT’S A VERY DETAILED BOX AND MATCHES THE SUBS PERFECTLY. ALL IN ALL, A GREAT CHOICE BY ALL INVOLVED”.
Trevor Gilligan, FOH engineer
“Although Trevor was happy to try out a new PA, the thing that we really had to demonstrate to make the argument was that the Martin Audio SXCF118 cardioid sub would be sufficient to provide the low end the tour required,” stated Timmins. The only way of providing its performance capability was to put it to the test, and a demonstration was organised at Martin Audio HQ in High Wycombe.
The band’s experienced system technician Mark Edwards was among those present at the demo. Timmins observed, “Both Trevor and Mark were extremely familiar with the Martin Audio SX218, and it was therefore easy to demonstrate the capability of the SXCF118 by using the 218 as the benchmark—and in fact the demo concluded with the SXCF118 coming out on top in terms of both performance and flexibility.”
22live were duly offered the tour, which embarked on a 30-date UK run. Among the inventory were 32 Martin Audio WPC (2 x 10in) line array enclosures, 18 WPS (2 x 8in) line array, 16 SXCF118 cardioid subwoofers, six Martin Audio WPM (for lip fills) and four Martin Audio TORUS T1215.
By the end of the first show, Trevor Gilligan had realised the wisdom of this product selection, commenting unreservedly, “What can I say … I love this system! It’s great to be back on the Martin Audio gear. It’s a very detailed box and matches the subs perfectly. All in all, a great choice by all involved.”
Further positive feedback was received from Gilligan as the tour progressed. “I definitely made the right decision with the little subs,” he continued. “The bass guitar and low end of the drum kit is way more musical. Mark [Edwards] did a sub array … in an old theatre in Bath; it’s normally a bit lumpy in there but this time it was great, very solid and punchy.”
As the tour concluded, Mark Edwards was able to offer his own verdict on the 22live delivery with the Martin Audio PA, commending the service company for the overall package they provided. “The system performed flawlessly and was a pleasure to work with.”
The only venue that had required a bigger system was the Glasgow Hydro Arena where 22live topped the PA system up with an additional 24 Martin Audio WPL (2 x 12in) enclosures. This brought the following comment from Trevor Gilligan: “We had a great night in the Hydro; the PA worked perfectly … the best mixing experience I have had there.”
But the final word on the success of the Martin Audio deployment came from Paul Timmins himself. “The fact that we were able to move the production onto Martin Audio, and it delivered beyond the expectations of both the engineer and technicians, I think is a great sign that we made a good decision to back the brand. I’m confident there will be growing demand and opportunity for Wavefront Precision going forward.”
So happy were production that they continued to tour the same setup throughout 2023, with a second European run which commenced in January. From the start of this run monitor engineer, Kevin Smith, also adopted Martin Audio in his stage set-up, switching to their high performance XE500 15” bi-amp coaxial differential dispersion monitors, at 22live’s recommendation. The XE500 was designed to be the ultimate, high SPL stage monitor and Smith admits that the superior performance had taken him somewhat by surprise. “They have delivered way above and beyond my expectation and are definitely a step up from what I was using previously,” he said.
The fact that production wanted the inventory to be shipped across the Ocean in its entirety was a ringing endorsement. “It is the first time they have shipped PA equipment in a long time—and that’s a real testament to their appreciation of the kit,” exclaims 22live commercial director, Alex Penn.