When Wembley’s SSE Arena opened its doors for the first time to an all-nighter, featuring undisputed champion of drum ‘n’ bass, Andy C, it presented a number of fresh challenges not previously encountered.

With only the lower bowl area open for the occasion (and the upper tribunes screened off) Capital Sound needed to design their MLA sound system accordingly, while their system tech Ben Turnbull also needed to ensure the minimum of noise escape—as the Wembley area is now densely populated with flats and hotels—to guide the event safely through to dawn.

Promoter and production company Lock ‘N’ Load Events have worked successfully with Capital Sound and Martin Audio’s award-winning MLA many times on EDM type events in recent years, including Alexander Palace.


Ben Turnbull, Capital Sound

Said Capital Sound account manager Martin Connolly, “From the public’s perspective we were able to run at good levels, aiming at an average of 102dB(A) but peaking at 106dB(A). We were never asked to turn it up, while offsite we were running at well under the threshold.”

To achieve this they fielded 12 x MLA elements and two MLD Downfill enclosures on each side of the stage, with side hangs of six outfacing MLA Compact elements on each flank.

Across the front, in a broadside cardioid array for rear rejection, were 16 MLX subwoofers (capable of 150dB peak), keeping any bass well away from the back wall, with eight Martin Audio XD12 spaced along the tops of the subs for near-field coverage.

Capital also supplied Andy C, who took to the stage around 11.00pm, with Pioneer CDJ-2000NXS and DJM-900NXS, while FOH and monitor mixers were respectively DiGiCo SD11 and SD9.

The rental company also had a first class tech team on duty. In addition to Ben Turnbull, Marty Beath was crew chief, Sam Cunningham was monitor tech and Andreas Andreou was fourth PA and stage tech.

Said Ben Turnbull, “MLA did a great job of reproducing the electronic content evenly throughout the venue at the required high SPL. Its processing capabilities also enabled a 3dB difference of level from front to back. The MLX subs provided excellent low-frequency reproduction needed for this genre.”

“The great thing is that we didn’t receive any complaints, and for the SSE Arena this now creates the potential for a new midweek revenue stream,” summarised Martin Connolly. In fact, the event was so successful that Andy C took to Facebook to thank the technical teams. ‘Production, visuals and sound were amazing!’ he wrote.

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