Miku Expo 5th Anniversary

Japanese anime star Hatsune Miku tours ‘live’ via a hologram protection, singing using Yamaha’s Vocaloid 2, Vocaloid 3 and Vocaloid 4 synthesising technologies – hence her status as a Vocaloid music sensation. The recent coronavuris lockdown period saw her return to perform in Europe as part of the Miku Expo 5th Anniversary, before planned dates in the US were cancelled.

In Europe, production company Proper Productions and sound partner Capital Sound provided sound reinforcement using Martin Audio’s MLA loudspeaker array system.

Developed in 2007, Hatsune Miku is a 16-year-old blue haired virtual persona, who is seen onstage as a 3D hologram projection. Yet such is the Japanese fixation with anime culture she has over 2.5m followers on social media. So successful was the 2018 tour, that the recent conderts found her confronted with five larger dates – starting at the relatively small O2 Academy Brixton, ending at Sant Jordi Club Barcelona, and taking in Zenith Paris and Ziggo Dome Amsterdam along the way – Capital Sound largely usedthe same production support team as for the prior tour. This was headed by Capital crew chief, Amy Newton-Smith and system tech Ben Turnbull, with Olli Fallon providing monitor support.

Miku ExpoWhile Hatsune’s vocals were triggered by Pro Tools, four professional musicians provided the tight live backing over two solid hours of relentless performance.

The main PA comprised 13 MLA elements and two MLD Downfill elements, left and right, with 12 MLX subs, in cardioid configuration, along the front. Side hangs, where required, consisted of six MLA Compact elements (redeployable as delays) on each side, while six DD12 speakers on top of the subs added front fills. Finally, a pair of Martin Audio XD12s on stage were used for talkback.

One personnel change from the 2018 tour, however, was at the FOH position, with sound engineer, Toshiaki Ueno, making far greater use of the sub complement from a DiGiCo SD10 mixing console.

Since the spectacle was awash with glowsticks, DMX-linked to the lighting board to maintain colour change continuity, it was certainly one of the more unusual shows.

‘You couldn’t wish for a better tour,’ reports Capital Sound’s Paul Timmins. ‘It was undertaken without the need for a tour bus, and the core Japanese production team blended well with ours. MLA was the perfect choice because, thanks to its high degree of control, Ben [Turnbull] was able to keep the sound away from unwanted areas.’

‘Everyone was so happy with the performance of MLA last time, it was logical to use the same system – and once again it worked to perfection,’ adds Capital Sound Project Manager, Amy Newton-Smith. ‘Because the venues were so different [in size and dimension] the rig was reconfigurable. For instance Brixton required no side hangs whereas in Amsterdam and Berlin we used the MLA Compacts for that purpose.’

Turnbull used Capital’s proven drive system of Lake LM44 processors at FOH, feeding two Focusrite D16 AES units via Dante over fibre, with one on either side of the stage. This, he says, was a perfect environment for MLA to show its true ability and provide excellent transparent coverage.

As with the previous London show in December 2018, the Japanese production team were delighted with the performance of MLA for this unique, crowd-created virtual talent on the touring circuit.

More: www.martin-audio.com

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