The Killers Rely On Martin Audio at London's O2 Arena

Mar 13, 2009 2:00 PM


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photo of Capital Sound Hire crew

Capital Sound Hire crew

In planning for The Killers’ sold-out performances at the O2 Arena, the band's longtime sound engineer, James Gebhard, decided to fly his favorite compact Martin Audio line array system without using the W8L Longbow system, which is said to project effortlessly to the rear of the 20,000-capacity arena.

The entire coverage—including side hangs, frontfills and delays—was made up of 20 Martin Audio W8LC Compact line array hangs as the main reinforcement system, which reportedly stretched production company Capital Sound Hire’s inventory to the limit. Martin MA4.s amplifiers powered all of the full-range enclosures.

With the two delay hangs of 12 W8LCs set 165 feet back down the auditorium, the two main SR stage arrays of 18 W8LCs and a pair of W8LCD downfills were complemented by 14 W8LCs and two W8LCDs as side hangs, and six W8LC and two W8LCD as the upstage secondary side hang. These were supplemented by 12 W8LS subs up in the air, with another four floor-mounted alongside four WS218Xs.

Four blocks of two Martin Audio W8LM Mini Line Arrays provided frontfills reinforced further by three W8Cs to cover the front rows.

With most of the system flown, the main task was to pull the image down for those sitting in the near-field area from a vast hang, trimmed 36 feet above the stage. Because of the length of the drop and the large vertical coverage angle involved, special ViewPoint array software predictions had to be provided by Martin Audio R&D director Jason Baird.

Capital Sound Hire has worked extensively at the O2 Arena, with acts as diverse as Take That, The Stereophonics, Kylie Minogue, El Divo and Lee Evans. “And although this is not the first time we have used delays, it is the first time we have taken such a radical design approach,” says account manager, Paul Timmins. “But I was pleasantly surprised that we achieved what some may have thought as being a suicidal gamble.”

“I’ve loved the W8LCs since first using them on the NME Awards Tour with the Killers four years ago,” Gebhard says.

He used them again on a one-off show with the band at the Royal Albert Hall last November. “I wanted to use LCs because of the way the Albert Hall is designed—you have to treat it like a club. It was a one-off show, and the first time I’d used the compacts with the flown subs—and it sounded outstanding.

“It’s just a question of more boxes and a bit more time involved, but it’s well worth it for the result.”

For more information, contact Rob Hofkamp (director, North American Operations) at 519/747-5853 or, or visit

Visit Capital Sound Hire's Website at

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