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Performance Hall In Japan Transitions To Line Arrays With L-Acoustics

Japan Advanced Technology Operations deploys Kiva II arrays joined by SB subwoofers and X Series loudspeakers in the largest space at multivenue May Theater in Osaka.
The proscenium system utilizes 11 L-Acoustics Kiva II with two L-Acoustics SB15 subwoofers flown behind. On each side, an installation of eight Kiva II, two SB15m, and one SB18i were rigged alongside one X12, acting as in fills. Eight X8i under the stage act as front fills.

The 1,400-seat large performance hall at the May Theater in Osaka, Japan, also known as the Suita City Cultural Hall, recently replaced a 20-plus-year-old point-source-based sound reinforcement system with an upgraded that incorporates a range of L-Acoustics loudspeakers and supporting components.

The venue has been on the Sound Engineers & Artists Society of Japan’s list of the Top 100 Best Halls by Acousticians since it was opened in 1985 and also includes a medium-sized hall, a reception hall and an exhibition space. The multi-faceted facility hosts concerts, operas and classical Japanese theatre, as well as social gatherings and art exhibitions.

“The previous point source speakers were placed inside a speaker box, which made it impossible to deliver uniform sound quality throughout the auditorium,” explains Satoshi Tanio, sound engineer at the theater. Tanio’s team evaluated systems from several different brands. “We chose L-Acoustics because they are the pioneers and leaders in the development of line array speakers and because their systems all have good phase characteristics,” he says.

Japan Advanced Technology Operations (JATO) was tasked with recommending and upgrading the system to a line array approach, with the support of local L-Acoustics Certified Provider Distributor (CPd) Bestec Audio. JATO’s Taiki Imamura knew that venue was working to a fixed budget, so he proposed a Kiva II-based line array system. “I was confident that Kiva II, with its powerful SPL, offered the perfect balance between price and quality,” he explains.

Shigeru Matsuo, from the installation team at JATO, helped design the system with the theater team. “During the design and installation process, we used L-Acoustics Soundvision 3D simulation software, which provided us with a clear idea of what the finished system will sound like throughout the venue,” Matsuo says. The May Theater team was able to provide CAD files of the performance space, allowing JATO to precisely plot speaker placement.

The final configuration consists of a proscenium system for the main hall of 11 Kiva II with two SB15 subwoofers flown behind. On each side, an installation of eight Kiva II, two SB15m, and one SB18i were rigged alongside one X12, acting as in fills. Eight X8i were deployed under the stage as front fills. Seven LA4X amplified controllers drive the system, connected to the mixing console via AES. To minimize cable lengths, the amplified controllers are placed just behind the proscenium’s arch.

Soundvision 3D mapping of sound coverage from the main system.

For dance events that require more dynamic sound reinforcement, the venue also added a mobile system of six Kiva II with two SB15m and two SB18 per side, plus six X12 and six X8 as monitors, with two LA8 amplified controllers. May Theater Stage Manager Koho Maekawa is happy with the abilities of the system to handle all the different content produced at the theater and to offer the community a quality experience. “Kiva II has dramatically improved sound clarity throughout the hall,” Maekawa concludes.

Japan Advanced Technology Operations (JATO)
Bestec Audio

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