The first Japanese group to perform at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan at the height of their popularity in the 1980s, the Barbee Boys disbanded in 1992. Exactly a decade after that show, the five-piece announced a one-off ‘comeback’ concert at the same venue.

Barbee BoysMSI Japan provided the sound production with Bun Hote – who has been supporting artists from the Office Augasta stable which includes Barbee Boys member Kyoko –mixing FOH sound. Also noted for his works as a system tech, he chose Martin Audio’s MLA for the PA.His solution was a unique approach to the system design, achieving consistency throughout the challenging arena.

Three arrays were hung from a single H-shaped truss tower on each side of the stage, facing in different directions. The main array comprised 13 MLA cabinets and a single MLD Downfill cabinet. The side array was aimed 45° outside of the main array and comprised nine MLA and an MLD. A further array of five MLA and two MLD Downfill boxes was aimed 90° outside of the main array, with six MLX subwoofers (with a pair facing backwards to create cardioid directivity) hung from the same tower.

‘We had little time for set-up, starting at midnight when the load-out of the last show had finished,’ says Bun Hote. ‘The H-shaped tower was reused from the previous show, just changing the location of the motor. In Yoyogi National Gymnasium, it is necessary to build standalone towers from the ground, as the roof loading is strictly regulated. After considering those factors, this location plan seemed to be the best.’

When using an end-stage configuration in the venue, there is a wall at the far side consisting of main arrays rather than audience seating. ‘Instead there were more audience seats in the direction that the side arrays would be pointing. With so many people expected, the production teams decided they would keep the audience area also for the side of the stage. However, we were unable to shift the side arrays too much as this would contribute to the wide area of the seating where the main arrays could not aim, avoiding reflection from the back wall. As a result, we needed one more array to cover the area just beside the stage.’

An additional line of subwoofers was stacked in front of the stage, beside the rigged subwoofers. Eight MLX subwoofers were aligned horizontally, while the four MLXs were stacked separately onto the subwoofer line, aiming behind in a cardioid broadside subwoofer array arc.

Bun Hote cites MLS’s sound and ‘amazing’ long throw capability as key to the PA design: ‘I couldn’t have achieved this show without MLA,’ he says. ‘MLA will have unlimited capability when you plan it correctly and, with our increased knowledge, experience and new approach to system design, we have achieved a much more flexible result, meeting the demands of the client, the variety of music and artists’ considerations.’

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