Mighty subwoofers underpin six custom club stacks
When the Ministry of Sound London commissioned a bespoke Martin Audio club stack two years ago it was just one step away from standardising on the brand throughout.
Standing in the way were the old ‘Bertha’ sub enclosures, whose heritage dates right back to Richard Long’s epochal system at New York’s legendary Paradise Garage in the late ‘70s.
Although the subs had been loaded with Martin Audio 18in drivers during that last upgrade, the end game — according to Martin Audio R&D director, Jason Baird — was to provide a complete active low-end enclosure.
Meanwhile the Ministry’s Technical Manager Alex Barrand was aware of development work taking place at Martin Audio HQ on a prototype — largely to provide low-end extension for Prodigy front of house engineer Jon Burton — but his interest really went into overdrive when he learnt that an active product would be commercially available in the marketplace.
Jason Baird recalls, “We started the system upgrade with the custom AS118 bass and Wavefront W8C into the club two years ago when discussions about the ASX were under wraps. Once we were able to demonstrate it we took it down to the club for a demo.”
Alex Barrand had first heard the new ASX sub in the Martin Audio factory and thought it sounded “incredible”.
Down at the club he remembers, “One unit comfortably outperformed the existing system at the audition. We ensured the crossovers were aligned properly and coupled with the 18’s in the AS118’s.”
However, he wanted the subs to be able to tick over and instead proposed two ASX subs for each of the six stacks, coupled with a custom flared horn. The flare met the MoS management brief that the design should retain the physical presence of the old stacks.
The MoS technician set about specifying an enclosure that would couple and at the same time deliver a visual impact. However, there were also some acoustic benefits to this approach — as both he and Jason Baird were quick to recognise.
“The flare not only enables more output to be generated but also better horizontal directivity. We needed to dissipate the hotspots and this did it. By angling the stacks we could get more broadband coverage.”
And with the integral amplifiers, signal and control cables exposed at the rear he also commissioned and fitted a special rear box to conceal it from clubbers, who are already threatening to use the mighty ground-stacked flared enclosures as a dance platform.
Thus 12 x ASX subs, in six stacks, now drive the frequency range down to 30Hz — all connected to the new Martin Audio Control Manager software.
Each ASX is plugged into a hub which interfaces with a laptop, and the Control Manager application allows control and monitoring of all ASX’s individually, noting the temperature they are running at and how hard the system is being driven — in real time.
Reviewing the new set-up just two weeks in, Alex Barrand reports that the sound is crystal clear and the crowds have been going wild. “I am delighted to have been in a position to carry out such an impressive upgrade to this heritage system.”
And the DJ’s agree. Louie Vega, who appeared with Jocelyn Brown recently, was particularly complimentary about the new Martin Audio club stacks. "Ministry of Sound's new sound system, is one of the rare few systems left that bring the spirit of Richard Long's work from the Paradise Garage with a digital edge.
“Since the new sound system went in I've enjoyed every minute deejaying there at our Soul Heaven Events and look forward to many more musical journeys. Congratulations to the Ministry of Sound (and Alex Barrand) for once again creating a new club sound blueprint.”