01/09/2015 » Axiom Pays Tribute with MB Audio Visual in Darlington


A year on from its purchase of a Proel Axiom line array loudspeaker system, MB Audio Visual has been enjoying a busy summer, and has put the new PA through its paces on a variety of indoor and outdoor events.

Most recently, the North Yorkshire based specialist supplier of audio visual, video and presentation technology was contracted to provide audio, staging and lighting for Darlington’s ‘Tributes in the Market Square’ over the weekend of 16th August.

A long list of some of the biggest tribute artists portraying the likes of Freddie Mercury, Michael Jackson, Katy Perry, Lady Ga Ga, Pink, Amy Winehouse, and headline act Simply Take That entertained the 2,000 capacity crowd in the heart of Darlington.

Having previously supplied the 2014 event, and having a good working relationship with Heart Radio and Darlington Council, MB Audio Visual was the natural choice for this year.

The first audio production company in the UK to adopt the Axiom line array system, MB Audio Visual has in the last two years experienced a steady increase in business – most notably since Craig Hoyland came on board in the capacity of systems tech and general manager to join business partner Colin Musgrave, and since the purchase of the Axiom line array. According to Hoyland, the recent changes have enabled the company to be much more competitive in the market, both locally and on a national scale.

“When you compare Axiom with many of the more established brand compact line arrays, it is highly cost effective,” he explains. “For a lower capital outlay we are now able to provide a powerful and compact PA system to service all kinds of events from weddings, awards ceremonies, and corporate shows to live music, charity balls, and fashion shows. We really like the way it sounds, and being a powered system it’s very quick to set up. The factory presets are good and it can just as easily be flown or ground stacked.

“And as we are a full service company – we supply PA, lights, staging and power – we can offer a complete package that’s very convenient for our clients.”

For the Tributes event, the MB crew of Hoyland, FOH engineer Giles Copeman, and stage tech Alex McDonald had all the stage, sound and light systems ready to go in a little over two hours. The PA consisted of three powered AX2065A and three passive AX2065P line arrays flown each side on top of two SW215A powered double 15-inch subwoofers per side.

The AX2065A is a two-way dual 6.5-inch LF plus 1.4-inch HF compression driver line array with integrated Class D power amplifier and DSP control, offering top of the range performance and superior dynamics with very low distortion.

Uniquely for a loudspeaker product in this class the powered AX2065A model can power one additional non-powered, or passive, AX2065P cabinet. This arrangement enables very efficient use of the available amplifier power while maintaining identical voicing from both types of cabinet.

The SW215A is a high output manifolded bandpass double 15-inch design that delivers high efficiency low frequencies from a compact powered enclosure and partners the AX2065 mid/high. “We were invited to a demonstration at Proel’s headquarters and factory in Sant’Omero last year of the Axiom line arrays and their wide range of subwoofers,” says Hoyland. “It was easy to see that the AX2065 system would work best for our needs, but we were particularly impressed by the double 15-inch subwoofer. It’s compact and very versatile – depending on the situation we can use them horizontally or vertically, and the mid/highs attach neatly on top when we ground stack the PA.”

With most of the artists performing with backing tracks and using hand held radio mics, the monitoring system was fairly simple and consisted of four AX15A powered 15-inch wedges. “These are some of the loudest monitors we’ve ever used, but with real definition,” comments Hoyland. “It’s not often you get asked to turn the monitors down!”

The PA was trimmed at 4.5 metres on WT150 work lifts and arrayed to throw about 60 metres covering the centre of the square, which measured approximately 200 metres by 150 metres wide. FOH engineer Giles Copeman needed very little EQ on the Yamaha LS932 at front of house. “We had a little bit of slap back from the buildings at far side of the square, but nothing major,” he comments. “Sound pressure level fell off with distance very smoothly, and side to side the coverage is very even over the 110 degrees width, with a sharp cut-off thereafter – pretty much ideal for this location and audience. With mostly backing tracks mixed with radio mics on stage, the sound was crisp and solid, and very convincing.”

According to Marion Ogle, events manager for Darlington Council, the partnership with MB Audio Visual was exceptional. “From the initial meetings they listened attentively to what we required, and delivered a full package of services – nothing was too much trouble for them,” she says. “The sound of the PA was excellent for all of the acts everywhere around the square. I have nothing but praise for the crew, and I hope that we will be inviting them back next year.”

The business outlook looks good for MB Audio Visual. The company has extended its reach nationally as well as supplying the local North Eastern region, and is already bidding on contracts as early as next summer and as far away as London. MB’s integrated package of stage, lights, power and the Axiom PA – all neatly contained in the modern truck and ‘stage in a trailer’ – makes an attractive proposition for its many clients.