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Martin Audio WPL Debuts At 20th Anniversary Of Rock In Japan

Martin Audio systems are a regular fixtures at this event, with WPL being the latest to be deployed.
Martin Audio WPL arrays making their debut in Japan.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary year and extended to five days for the 2019 edition, the Rock In Japan festival in Hitachinaka also marked the Japanese debut of Martin Audio’s Wavefront Precision Longbow (WPL). Running on seven stages over two weekends at Hitachi Seaside Park, a total combined audience of 337,421 enjoyed wall to wall music across seven stages over the five days of the festival.

Martin Audio systems are a regular fixtures at this event, with MLA adopted for the Grass Stage (the largest, with 70,000 capacity). “It was back in 2011 when we first introduced MLA on the Lake Stage,” says Shuzo Fujii, president of MSI Japan. “This is now the ninth year that the system has been adopted, and its high degree of control has become essential for the festival. Grass Stage has more than 650-foot depth, and without the need to use many delay towers, MLA can easily achieve the area coverage. At the same time, we can mitigate the noise pollution offsite — few systems can do that.”

Here, 20 elements each side formed the main arrays supported by a further 16 cabinets per side as out fills. In addition, 48 MLX subwoofers provided low frequency extension.

MLA was also adopted for other stages such as the Park Stage (10,000 capacity), Lake Stage (10,000 capacity) and Sound of Forest (8,000 capacity) with the control offered by MLA also helping to prevent unnecessary sound bleed between stages.

At the new Buzz Stage (4,500 capacity) WPL made its debut. It’s the largest format in the new Wavefront Precision line up of optimized passive arrays. Designed as a complete system with external iKON iK42 multichannel amplifiers, automated DISPLAY optimization software and VU-NET control platform, the more WPL enclosures with dedicated amplifier channels, the greater levels of optimization resolution is afforded to users. WPL offers two levels of resolution with “One Box” (to 1-amp channel) and “Two Box” (to 1-amp channel) available.

WPL incorporates 2 x 12-inch drivers with Hybrid horn/reflex loading, 2 x 6.5-inch cone drivers on a midrange horn that covers the vocal frequency range from 300 Hz to 4 kHz, and 3 x 1-inch-exit HF drivers operating from 4 kHz upwards. Each section incorporates horn-loading techniques and refinements designed to raise acoustic performance both in terms of output and smooth 90-degree horizontal coverage patterns of the mid and HF horns.

Six WPL elements were flown per side, driven by three iK42 in 1-box resolution. In addition, two WPC enclosures were stacked as out fills, along with WPM as lip fill — all driven by iK42 amplifiers. The four iK42s were set up at the side of the stage, connected via a Dante audio network. Due to the Luminex Gigacore switch which has V-LAN settings, Dante primary and secondary as well as the control signals of VU-Net and APEX Intelli-X3 processor were combined into a single optical cable.

Meanwhile, 10 MLX subwoofers were set under the stage to meet the demand of DJs and provide low frequency headroom.

One of the sound engineers on duty — Ryuta Ishizaki from rental company MSI Japan — described the system this way: “The smoothness and transition from low to high frequencies was excellent and easy to control. I liked its punchy low end very much, as thick bass is my favorite. The high end was good as always.

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“The roof of Buzz Stage was made of vinyl and there were concerns about possible sound reflections. But the controllability was such that this wasn’t an issue and I had no difficulty operating the system.”

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