Duke University given green light with MLA
Tuesday, 25 May 2021
duke-universityThe socially-distanced Duke University Commencement at the Wallace Wade Stadium
USA - After the widespread cancellation of the 2020 Graduation and Commencement season in the States, students were anxious to know whether this year they would be able to celebrate the completion of their degree programmes on a grand stage.
Cooper Cannady of Martin Audio partner RMB Audio, the event’s long-term services provider, was faced with the same conundrum.
“We have serviced Duke University Commencement at the Wallace Wade Stadium [in Durham, N. Carolina] since the evolution of the campus back in 2003,” said the RMB Audio owner, whose company is based nearby.
“This year I was invited to initiate planning for an event which I knew may never occur.” However, when University president, Vincent Price, finally received the green light from the Centre for Disease Control and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the RMB Audio tech team had to function test all equipment that had been dormant for one year.
The event was set for 2 May; the stage loaded in on 23 April and the RMB Audio crew arrived on 27 April. But the problem was that with strict socially distanced guidelines in force, the layout kept changing. “Every day brought with it a new scenario,” stated Cooper. While some 5,700 students had graduated, 2,000 undergraduates would attend, originally spaced 6ft apart in the inner field (to engage them closely with the event), while the seating plans revised to allow an additional two guests. The 40,000-cap stadium would now host a total of 6,000 attendees, and the original 6ft social distancing was reduced to 3ft.
However, with the new seating design came a revision of the audio orientation. The planned seating at 180 degrees to the stage now increased to 220 degrees, placing seating behind the video wall. “We were tasked with improving the audience experience in a setting that was entirely new from what everyone had practiced for years. Suddenly we were unable to accommodate a third house left MLA Compact tower and instead had to deploy a stealth Martin Audio W8VDQ, driven by iK42 amps, to cover the expanding audience,” he explained.
This was integrated and concealed at the base of the further house left tower, while the two hangs of 12 MLA Compact enclosures at stage right were accompanied by a single hang of 12 MLA Compact at stage left. “Decorators were insistent that no cabinets could be within the main camera image that required Martin Audio DD12’s to be placed on stands at ground level corners of the stage to cover the centre first row of seats. The audio image was seamless.”
Emphasising the crucial role played by MLA Compact, Cooper Cannady said, “We have used this system for the past three years and W8LM before that, in view of the weight restrictions. The reason we favour MLA Compact is because of the ability of the system to directly cover the audience in detail, and in sensitive situations such as this, these are the devices we prefer to use.”

Latest Issue. . .

Tweets from our Friends