Martin Audio Upgraded Software Allows Improved Prediction and Optimization of MLA Systems

October 24 2016, 04:00
Martin Audio has announced a significant upgrade to Display, the software brain of its Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array (MLA) Series, improving even further how loudspeaker arrays are configured and controlled for any auditorium or size audience. The new Display 2.2 software represents what R&D Director, Jason Baird, now describes as “the world’s most accurate prediction and optimization array software, bar none.”

Martin Audio’s Display is the numerical optimization process that eliminates lengthy trial-and-error tuning sessions, so that an MLA Series system achieves the required audience coverage straight out of the box. Based on a highly accurate acoustic model of array behavior, it gives a very precise prediction of the direct sound produced over the audience as well as areas where sound is to be minimized. It takes the guesswork out of array design, deployment and control - generating ready-to-use DSP filter configurations and comprehensive rigging information, including mechanical load safety analysis.

This is even more critical when using MLA systems, since each MLA Array has up to 144 individual acoustic elements (cells), each with its own onboard amplifier and DSP, which can be optimized to deliver the sound across the audience to meet the sonic goals required for any space. This also allows avoiding sound from reaching behind and below the array, ceilings, balcony edges and beyond the venue perimeter. Vertical coverage can even be fine-tuned electronically in-situ to cope with changing environmental conditions and last-minute changes in rigging height, without having to re-rig.

The easy-to-use and highly accurate predictive software does all the work with the system, allowing the FOH engineer to retain full artistic control and enjoy mixing the show in the full knowledge that the sound created at the mix position will be heard everywhere throughout the audience. The patented optimization process evaluates thousands of potential array configurations against multiple target functions — such as frequency response, flatness and sound leakage into non-audience areas. Display simply replicates what the engineer hears at the mix position to the entire audience.
MLA systems in use at Rock in Rio Lisbon Festival: 112 MLA, eight MLD, 60 MLX subs and 24 MLA Compact.

According to Martin Audio’s R&D Director, Jason Baird, this Display software upgrade represents the biggest of its kind so far, and the key improvements and added functionality will delight both new and regular users. A significant amount of in-the-field research and feedback was carried out across a series of tours and festivals to validate this latest upgrade.

Display 2.2 can run on the latest devices and Windows operating systems offering increased accuracy, thanks to new acoustic data  remeasured and recalibrated using more advanced techniques. The update also improved the ‘Hard avoid’ feature for varying distances from the array, while the introduction of a leakage threshold limits the effort of reducing output below a certain level.

The software also introduces Elemental EQ in full-band for all MLA systems making them better sounding than ever before. On average, splay optimization takes 30% less time than with Display 2.1, while a a new Express Setup tool is also available when simple day-to-day arrays and default Display settings are applicable. Finally, the new software is able to generate printable rigging reports for all types of systems, introduces more room for the audience and goal value graphs in EQ tab, provides easier access to the most recent files, includes a new option for reference level or average audience level static plot and offers auto-scale frequency response plot in SPL View. Graphical interface in general has been improved, using a new Matlab graphics system throughout, with plots and axes looking richer and smooth.

Martin Audio’s Research Engineer Ambrose Thompson was responsible for leading the software development, and he commented, “MLA is the clear leader in providing superior coverage for every member of the audience while ensuring sound spillage is controlled. Now with this enhanced functionality it’s even more accurate, faster and easier to use, and makes MLA sound better than ever before. We’ve seen others enter the market with array prediction software and we just wanted to ensure that nothing comes close to the exactness of Display.”

To take into account the input EQ changes required, Display 2.2 is being released in tandem with VU-NET 2.0 control and monitoring software. This allows for the Input EQ to be adapted automatically to the new output from Display 2.2, and VU-NET 2.0. Furthermore, it will also support CDD-LIVE! PA systems, enabling a cohesive architecture of control and monitoring for Martin Audio systems.

The Display 2.2 upgrade is automatically sent to existing MLA owners, while VU-NET 2.0 can be downloaded from Martin Audio’s software webpage.
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