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Martin Audio excels at matter

3 October 2008 6.00 BST

(London) - A new three-floor, 32,737 sq.ft, 2,600 capacity venue is set to reshape the face of London’s music and club scene.

Named matter, and forming part of the successful O2 Arena Complex in Docklands, the new all-concrete, heavily soundproofed building is the brainchild of fabric owners, Keith Reilly and Cameron Leslie, and represents a multimillion pound investment.

Their brief to Most Technical’s Dave Parry was to take the use of entertainment technology to a new level.

This he has done by a bespoke integration of sound, lighting and video, with the mainstay of the sound system being a Martin Audio W8L Longbow line array, which incorporates Timax Outboard Processing; this allows the sound to be mapped in three dimensions and be manipulated around the entire space by the operators. Another core element is Djenerate’s new BodyKinetic interactive dance floor system — described as “80 transducers on steroids” — with some 75,000W of sound pumped through the floor, which is underfitted with eight strobes.

Meanwhile, the entire visual creativity is a story apart, as advanced architectural mapping techniques have been employed using Pixel Addicts’ media server (The Addict Server) to create an ever changing canvas, in sync with the sound. This includes 12 high output video projectors on moving mirrors.

The system has been configured so that all the lighting, sound and video are controlled from an Avolites Diamond 4 desk (with MIDI signals triggered from the Timax) — something that has never been done before.

Martin Audio’s own vast armoury of power amplifiers — including the MA12K — form the bulk of an engine room that has been placed on full display on the bridge, high above the control booth. In addition to the 55 amplifiers and the Timax 2, other processing devices include the Yamaha DME, providing 128 output channels.

The mainstay of a system that can create either a complete sound field — up through the core of the triple height venue or in separate zones as required — is the Martin Audio W8L Longbow, driven five-way.

At one point the owners had considered upgrading the fabric system with a Martin Audio dance stack, and relocating the existing system — but once the decision had been made to specify afresh, Martin Audio’s Sales Manager, Simon Bull introduced the company’s proprietary Display™ 3D predictive modelling tool into the equation, ensuring that the performance was fully optimised.

In the main room multiples of wall-mounted AQ8’s and AQ12’s cover the Bar area, along with AQ215’s while the main room system consists of a L/C/R line array system, comprising W8L Longbow hangs and W8LD Downfills, complemented with three W8LMI enclosures and a W8LMDI Downfill. Six H3H+’s are mounted at balcony level to provide further coverage and eight WS218X provide the overall sub extension. A pair of Martin Audio Blackline F12+’s and S18+ sub bass provide the DJ monitors, while high up in the main room, 17 x AQ8’s and six AQ210 subs provide further infill.

For Room 2 (on the second floor) Dave Parry has created more of a conventional Martin Audio club sound, using four stacks of H3T+’s and WS218X’s — one stack for each corner. Blackline F12+ and an S18+ sub provide the DJ monitoring.

The third floor offers VIPs an uncompromised view of the stage from the balcony, with access to the Sky Bridge, where a big screen covers the roof void with dry ice (above the gauze screen), to provide a stunning view.

“I have always been happy with Martin Audio systems,” said Dave Parry. “We love the sound at fabric but we also love the service — and Sales Manager, Simon Bull was an unbelievable help. So when we came to spec matter, Martin Audio were already two furlongs ahead.”

In summary, he said, “I have wanted to do an operation like this for ten years. I have taken it to a whole new level and included full Pro Tools HD recording and a video editing suite. The recording studio links to a separate studio and I have put camera points in for full HD transmission.”

This is the first live venue project for renowned architects Pentagram, and their project team of William Russell and Sarah Adams have created a completely holistic build that is as imaginative in its design as it is architecturally sympathetic to its surroundings.

Along with the core team, O2 owners AEG have been instrumental in making this exciting new venture possible, and in time matter looks forward to developing this relationship into an interesting creative collaboration.





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