Prior to the recent lockdown period in Europe, Japanese “android diva” Hatsune Miku toured Europe again with production company Proper Productions and Capital Sound providing sound reinforcement with Martin Audio MLA loudspeaker arrays.
Miku had previously toured Europe for the first time back in late 2018. The three European dates were unique in that the venues (including London Olympia) were diverse in size and dimension, and that the performer, using a computer-generated voicebank developed by Crypton Future Media, performed a shrill, high-octane “thrash” metal repertoire. While Hatsune’s vocals were triggered by Pro Tools, four professional musicians provided the live backing over two hours of performance.
Developed in 2007, Hatsune Miku is actually a 16-year-old blue haired virtual persona seen onstage as a 3D hologram projection. So successful was the 2018 tour that second time around, confronted by a slightly larger five dates — starting at the relatively small O2 Academy Brixton, ending at Sant Jordi Club Barcelona, and taking in Zenith Paris and Ziggo Dome Amsterdam along the way — Capital deployed largely the same production support team. This was headed by crew chief, Amy Newton-Smith and system tech Ben Turnbull, with Olli Fallon providing monitor support.
The main PA comprised 13 MLA elements and two MLD Downfill elements, left and right, with 12 MLX subs, in cardioid configuration, along the front. Side hangs, where required, consisted of six MLA Compact elements (redeployable as delays) on each side, while six DD12 speakers on top of the subs added front fills. Finally, a pair of Martin Audio XD12s on stage were used for talkback.
One personnel change from the 2018 tour, however, was at the FOH position, with sound engineer Toshiaki Ueno, making greater use of the sub complement from a DiGiCo SD10 mixing console.
Since the spectacle was awash with glowsticks, DMX-linked to the lighting board to maintain color change continuity, it was certainly one of the more unusual shows.
“You couldn’t have wished for a better tour,” states Paul Timmins of Capital. “It was undertaken without the need for a tour bus, and the core Japanese production team blended well with ours. MLA was the perfect choice because, thanks to its high degree of control, Ben [Turnbull] was able to keep the sound away from unwanted areas.”
Newton-Smith adds, “Everyone was so happy with the performance of MLA last time, it was logical to use the same system—and once again it worked to perfection. Because the venues were so different [in size and dimension] the rig was reconfigurable. For instance Brixton required no side hangs whereas in Amsterdam and Berlin we used the MLA Compacts for that purpose.”
Turnbull used Capital’s drive system of Lake LM44 processors at FOH feeding two Focusrite D16 AES units via Dante over fiber, with one on either side of the stage. He adds that as with the previous London show in December 2018, the Japanese production team had been delighted with the performance of MLA for this unique, crowd-created virtual talent on the touring circuit.