Martin Audio goes Legally Blonde

dBS Solutions has adopted a Martin Audio theatre system for the newly opened Legally Blonde The Musical.

dBS Solutions purchased Martin Audio’s XD/WS218X model, deploying the larger XD15 unit for the production, as the 15” LF drive unit and 1.4” neodymium HF compression driver has reduced weight and several pairs can be mounted up the vertical proscenium truss to the rotatable horns.

Musical theatre and panto specialists UK Productions contacted dBS Solutions based on the audio company’s past success with their flagship Christmas pantomime in Sunderland.
dBS Solutions sound designer Chris Bogg recognised that this latest challenge would not be an easy one. “The show’s American girl-heavy production numbers have a tendency to sound ‘squeaky’ to me so the main aim was to make the sound less shrill and much warmer,” he said. “We have achieved exactly what we set out to, and produced a great sound for the show.”

The cast are on 28 radio mics, with seven musicians in the orchestra pit on personal monitors. And with further tracks and sound FX from 30 channels of Qlab there was plenty to occupy the mind when Chris first set out to design the system.

His solution has been to mount eight XD15’s in four pairs on the vertical truss, focused into the different balcony tiers, each with independent control. “With the XD’s we have multiple options thanks to the rotatable horn; in traditional format it is 80° wide but with the horn rotated the width of dispersion is 130° using two boxes – and if we want something in between we can format the horizontal coverage for 100°,” he notes.

Extending the low frequencies are a pair of Martin Audio WS218X subwoofers, one either side of the stage for stalls coverage. “But in the upper tiers, the 15” drivers in the XD15 will go sufficiently low that we find we don’t need further dedicated subs.

“They will handle all the frequencies we need and consequently this has massive time implications when setting up, allowing us to concentrate on the rest of the system.”
By “the rest of the system”, he is referring to the central pair of XD12 down-fills, clustered above the proscenium, which draw the vocal image down and shift it to the centre. Once again, with the rotatable horns he has been able to set these at 100° horizontal x 80° vertical. Finally, four DD6s mounted on the front of the stage provide front fill, while a further eight of these hugely popular utility speakers are used as delays at balcony level to ensure there is no risk of the sound dropping away at the furthest reaches.

Helping Chris Bogg ensure a smooth ride for the production are associate sound designer, Matt Chisholm, production engineer Richard Pomeroy, and the show’s team of Kieron McGuire and Luke Capay.

Summing up the overall sound dynamic, the dBS Solutions MD says, “We have been getting great results from the Martin Audio system. It’s sounding exactly as it should and everyone is delighted with it.”


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