Ayaka Hirahara takes MLA on tour
JAPAN: Having become the first user of Martin Audio’s MLA system in 2011, Japanese sound reinforcement specialists, SEPT･1 recently put the system to use on Ayaka Hirahara’s latest 10th Anniversary Concert Tour 2013.
Sound engineer Shigenori Funahashi was the one to select the MLA system for the Japanese pop singer’s tour, typically using six MLA enclosures per side and three MLX subs, all ground-stacked.
‘I needed to improve many issues regarding the sound for this tour – and the most important challenge was contending with the singer’s vocal reflections,’ Mr Funahashi explained. ‘Because of the increasing use of in-ear monitors, many of today’s singers do not listen to their voice acoustically and don't hear the entire auditorium sound, including reflections bouncing off the venue walls.
‘However, Ayaka does not like using IEMs and is always aware of the sound in the venue – she is determined that her voice and the soul she puts into her songs be heard in the purest sense,’ he furthered. ‘However, this can also mean adding in reflections at times since she doesn't like the stage to be too quiet and wants to take in the whole theatre sound, including the audience, as well as both direct and reflected sound. Therefore sound engineers need to be equal to these complex requests.’
Mr Funahashi remarked that on previous tours, the sound characteristics differed from venue to venue, making control difficult. ‘Sometimes the singer would experience bad reflections on the stage and often engineers just gave up trying to control it,’ he said.
‘But the MLA system is just not normal. MLA puts the control in the engineer’s hands and will always keep the sound consistent at every venue, so that musicians and singers can experience exactly the same sound wherever they play. Everyone comments on how easy it is to perform onstage when using MLA. Because of the controllability we can remove all reflections at the venue in various different ways – not only at big arenas or domes, but also in small concert halls. In fact I am certain that every issue regarding sound inconsistencies can be solved using MLA,’ he stated.
‘We have been experiencing great results using MLA in arenas, domes and other big venues in Japan since its launch, and these have been well publicised,’ added Yusuke Karato, president of Martin Audio Japan. ‘But we shouldn't overlook the beautiful results achieved in much smaller theatre venues. In the case of Ayaka Hirahara, the MLA system has been able to meet the demands from the artiste herself.’