A recent classical concert at the Tokyo Metropolitan Theater Concert Hall featuring Nobuaki Fukukawa, the principal horn player in the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra (NHK), saw the artist emulating his recordings done with King Records and playing the songs in the form of an eight-horn ensemble by overdubbing himself in an approach supported by Martin Audio LE100 coaxial stage monitors.
Fukukawa and King Records consulted with Koichi Ishimaru, sound master at Tokyo Metropolitan Theater, and he suggested “treating the loudspeakers as musical instruments.” His idea was that Fukukawa should perform live on stage to create the one part while the seven remaining parts would be played back, one by one, through surround loudspeakers, with the recorded source created in Pro Tools.
The system had to be able to reproduce the accurate horn tone and unique localization with natural sound, a task assigned to several LE100 monitors. “I was particular about coaxial speakers because they can accurately express the sound source of musical instruments,” Fukukawa says. “I was convinced it was going to be successful.”
He was positioned in the center of the stage surrounded by seven chairs, each of which supported an LE100 arranged to face in different directions. “The bell of the horn is usually facing backwards when being played and so instead of pointing the speaker directly to the audience seats, I tried a similar approach,” he adds. “This allowed us to reproduce the unique soft sound.”
The idea of matching the start of the performance and the recorded sound was also unique. Using a video device called a conductor monitor, which has low latency, Fukukawa played according to his own conducting video, recorded in advance. Since the original album was made in the same way, it was a straightforward process to do this for the live performance.