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A look inside the Zukan Museum Ginza in Tokyo that's outfitted with more than 100 Genelec loudspeakers that contribute to an interactive journey.

Genelec Helps Create Immersive Journey At Zukan Museum Ginza In Tokyo

More than 100 loudspeakers, including 85 compact 8010 active models, foster an immersive environment to discover the natural world in an experience inspired by Shogakukan's NEO series of picture books.

More than 100 Genelec loudspeakers are utilized in a new sound design at the Zukan Museum Ginza in Tokyo that’s designed to offer an immersive and interactive journey to discover the natural world beyond time and space in an experience inspired by Shogakukan’s NEO series of picture books.

“The museum faithfully recreates the ecosystem of the natural world, with different creatures appearing in each area, such as the forest, savanna, underwater, etc., where the act of observing and recording the creatures is interactive. For example, if you get too close to a creature, it will be startled and run away,” explains Jun Fujiwara of invisi Ltd, which handled the sound production and UX design.”

“The acoustical element is made up of three components: sounds produced by living creatures; background environmental sounds; and musical elements,” adds Takashi Miyamoto of coton Inc, which was responsible for implementing the audio system and sound design. “The environment changes according to the time of day, just as it does in the real world. The musical elements are generated using coton’s original music generation technology called ‘soundtope’ which automatically produces the most appropriate music based on the season and time of day, for a truly authentic experience.”

These three acoustical elements, with a total of 150 channels of sound, create different worlds in each of the multiple areas within the museum. There is no physical separation between areas, so it was particularly important to ensure that transitions from one area to another are smooth and coherent.

“In order to ensure seamless transitions between naturescapes, we used a common tonal scale between adjacent areas to prevent sounds from clashing with each other,” continues Miyamoto. “Furthermore, in terms of timbre, the placement of intermediate common tones between areas has the effect of a boundary partition, like a sound curtain. Another acoustical issue that emerged was the panning system, which pans the sound produced by the creatures. The loudspeaker arrangements didn’t allow us to use existing panners, so we had to develop our own panning system.”

According to Miyamoto, the localization achieved by Genelec loudspeakers with the panning was the deciding factor in deploying them at the museum, along with their extremely accurate sound reproduction. “Other loudspeakers used different mechanisms to achieve localization, but that was problematic in multichannel setups, and in general, they lacked the accurate sound reproduction we were looking for. Genelec’s superlative acoustic characteristics and flexible installation were a major attraction.”

The sound design incorporates 85 compact 8010 active studio loudspeakers, 23 of the slightly larger 8020 models, and seven 7360 subwoofers. The 8010 is used widely throughout the museum due to its performance and small footprint, while the 8020 is used specifically for reproducing creature sounds that require more low-end. In addition, Genelec accessories that include the 8000-420 short wall mount and 8000-416 truss mount both helped foster a more flexible installation tailored to the space.

“To create the world that living creatures inhabit, we received supervision from Emeritus university professors and other experts,” states Takayuki Kitai of AID-DCC Inc, which was involved in the overall creative process of the facility. “We believe that we managed to provide an experience unique to this museum that cannot be obtained in conventional facilities. Since its opening, the museum has received favorable reviews from various fields as a new form of experiential facility. I hope many people will experience it.”

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