Martin Audio

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Martin Audio is a loudspeaker company.

Martin Audio logo.png

About Martin Audio[edit]

Martin Audio was founded by Australian audio engineer David Martin in 1971 to manufacture and supply touring sound reinforcement systems for the supergroups of the day that included Pink Floyd and Supertramp.

Martin Audio's early folded horn bass cabinet design (known as Martin Bins) was typical of the industry standard in the 1970s.[citation needed] Today, Martin Audio supplies systems across the spectrum of sound reinforcement applications from the high power levels demanded by large touring acts to classical ballet or small theme bars, for example.

Design Approach[edit]

Martin audio designs aim for flat frequency response in the acoustic design in preference to electronic equalisation.[citation needed] Martin use horn loading in large cabinets, preferring hyperbolic profiles in bass horns and exponential horns driven by cone drivers for mid-range. This was pioneered by senior R&D engineer Rod Short.

Smaller systems use a more conventional approach using reflex-loaded cone drivers and bandpass subwoofer designs.

Wavefront Series[edit]

Martin released the Wavefront series of loudspeaker systems in 1995.

The large format W8 cabinets use two horn-loaded 12-inch and one 6.5-inch cone driver for low-mid and high-mid respectively and a 1-inch compression driver/horn assembly for high frequencies. The more popular W8C reduces cabinet size and weight by omitting one of the 12-inch drivers.

The original Wavefront subwoofer (W8S) used an unconventional design based on a horn-loaded 15-inch driver and a reflex loaded 18-inch driver in separate acoustic chambers within a single cabinet with identical dimensions to the W8. These devices operate over the same frequency range, yet for best results one driver needs to be delayed relative to the other. The W8S has largely been superseded by the larger WSX subwoofer, which is a folded horn S-bin design based on a single 18-inch driver.

The Wavefront series includes a number of smaller cabinets, some of which borrow technology from the larger units, and are otherwise based on conventional reflex-loading techniques. The series also includes a single bandpass subwoofer which uses a 6th order parallel-tuned topology based on two 10-inch drivers.

MLA Series[edit]

Martin Audio released the MLA (Multi-cellular Loudspeaker Array) series in 2010.

The MLA series represents significant advances in line array technology, specifically in array resolution and numerical optimisation.[1] Each MLA component has six individually configurable acoustic cells with discrete amplification, in addition to FIR and IIR processing. A networked array of MLA components may contain over 100 acoustic cells. This quantity of individually configurable cells gives the MLA a resolution that is an order of magnitude greater than previous line array systems. The array is optimised by advanced computer modelling.[2]

Ministry of Sound[edit]

Martin Audio were tasked with providing and installing the sound system for Ministry of Sound's Elephant & Castle nightclub. The install consists of eight W8LC Compact Line Array enclosures distributed in two drops of four, for main coverage at The Bar. A further four W8LM Mini Line Array boxes configured in two hangs of two per side (as side fills) and a pair of Blackline S218 as subwoofers. The Bar’s DJ booth also houses two Blackline F12’s and a single S15 sub for DJ referencing. The Baby Box houses four each of the larger Blackline F15 and S218 subs with a pair of F8’s as infill under the balcony area with two Blackline F12’s used as the DJ monitors. The main VIP room had a selection of four Blackline F10’s and a single S218, allowing The Ministry to maximise the use of the room — from full-on party to background low level music.

Audio components in all other peripheral areas were also updated, such as entrance walkway, private VVIP rooms and outside courtyard to keep a well-balanced sound running throughout the club. As a result, sound in the VVIP Room was reinforced through four Contractor series C115’s while the entrance corridor has four AQ6’s (finished in white) and in the outside courtyard the sound was distributed through a pair of black AQ8’s.

Onto the bespoke club stack, for its main room –The Box. Martin Audio’s R&D Director, Jason Baird designed what is now the timeless six-stack 5-way hybrid sound-field. Designing custom versions of the AS118 bass and Wavefront W8C mid-high cabinets, with two 21” ASX subs form the base of each of the six stacks around the perimeter of the dance floor, coupled with a custom horn flare. The flare not only met the MoS management brief that the design should retain the physical presence of the old stacks, but at the same time enabled more output to be generated with better horizontal directivity. “By accurately aiming the stacks, we could broaden out the low frequencies to cover the whole of the dance floor,” he rationalised.

On winning the IDMA for the fourth time, Jason commented “It is an incredible achievement to have won this award once again, and is a testament to the capability of a sound system that just keeps on putting smiles on faces.” Ministry production manager Chris Thoms added, “Our success in this field really is a tribute to the hard work of everyone involved in the planning, development and refinement work which went into the Martin Audio sound system."



Martin Audio was acquired in 1990 by TGI, a holding company that also owns the Tannoy and Goodman loudspeaker companies. However, though David Martin stayed on under the new management, he went missing in late 1992 after a confrontation with his partner in a non-audio business venture. David Martin's body was never found, but his former partner was arrested and convicted for his murder.[4]

In 2007, Martin Audio was acquired by Loud Technologies, owner of the EAW and Mackie brands.


  1. ^ Feistel, Stefan; Thompson, Ambrose; Ahnert, Wolfgang (2009). "Methods and Limitations of Line Source Simulation". AES Journal. Audio Engineering Society. 57 (6): 379–402. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  2. ^ Thompson, Ambrose (2009). "Improved Methods for Controlling Touring Loudspeaker Arrays". AES Convention Paper. Audio Engineering Society. Retrieved 2011-04-25. 
  3. ^ Martin Audio Case Study
  4. ^ ""OUTSIDE THE BOX" - PRO AUDIO ASIA" (Press release). Martin Audio Ltd. 14 October 2004. Retrieved 2010-12-17.