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Martin Audio Limited

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Posted on Friday, May 25, 2012

  Manchester’s iconic Dry Bar, a landmark of the city’s trendy Northern Quarter since 1989 has carried out an interior upgrade in both the bar and its newly refurbished basement music venue ‘Dry Live’. Situated below the bar, the venue was completely refurbished in 2010 with black and grey interior giving it an underground venue feel and now a brand new Martin Audio sound system has been installed.

Tasked with equipping the new DRY LIVE, experienced local specialists Masons, and their system design engineer Jack Jennings, chose a Martin Audio Blackline H3H+ horn-loaded solution as best fit for the purpose.

The basement space had previously been split into several small rooms but the floor had opened out into one large venue with the intention of using the downstairs space for both live music and club events — served by a single sound system. 

The venue operators had stipulated that they wanted the audience to be able to get as close to the front of the stage as possible, whilst still having the desired system — “one that can offer all the punch and growl that you’d ever need” — a sound suited for both band and club events. Unfortunately, faced with ceiling height restrictions, the drop-height would exclude the use of arrays or standard ‘portrait’ profile speakers.

This presented Jennings with a conundrum. Conventional floor-standing stacks on either side of the stage would be impractical if they needed dismantling, storing and reassembling for certain events. “The system needed to have no permanent footprint on the floor and be flown as high as possible, out of the way when not in use,” he said.

Thus with the intended mixed use of the venue, requiring dynamic and even coverage for a number of different scenarios, Jack Jennings knew the low-profile H3H+ midrange would deliver high-quality instrument and vocal reproduction. 

“The Martin Audio H3H+ full-range 3-way speaker seemed to fit the bill perfectly,” he said. “Its horizontal format, high power handling, high output levels and 70?x40? dispersion characteristics all leant themselves to this install.”

He specified four H3H+ lined up across the front of the stage area. The central two are mounted tight against the ceiling and tilted slightly down to achieve nearfield audience coverage, while the outer two are mounted slightly forward and below, on steel joists either side of the stage. 

The crisp high-frequency output needed to be matched by powerful sub-bass and give club promoters the sense of aural immersion they desire — despite operating as a stage-focused system rather than a traditional dance floor surround.

This is provided by four Martin Audio WS218X double-18” direct-radiating subs, two each on either side of the stage — fitted with castors to allow them to be easily removed when required and wheeled into a storage area.

The entire system is powered from just a 4U rack — containing a dedicated Martin Audio DX1.5 2 in 6 out digital controller and three Martin Audio MA switch-mode amplifiers. 

“This elegant set-up provides huge amounts of power and reliability and allows the venue to operate the system without fear of any technical issues,” concludes Jennings.

Masons are a long-term Martin Audio dealer, who have regularly been providing advanced solutions for the city’s trendy bars and music venues over the years. They have ensured the legacy of Tony Wilson’s Factory Records — the original owners of the Dry Bar — is preserved, and that the venue originally opened by New Order is ready to enjoy the next chapter in its colourful life.
On top of a new sound system and new look, Dry Live has also welcomed a new lighting system for both bands and club events — courtesy of Masons. Since receiving the huge Martin Audio sound system, Dry Live has played host to some of Manchester and beyond's finest musical talent in the form of bands, DJs and promoters and is working its way up as one of Manchester's most sought after clubs of 2012.