The Seoul Foundation for Arts & Culture (SFAC) recently completed the installation of a Martin Audio MLA Mini/MSX loudspeaker array in its new Youth Arts Centre.

Seoul Foundation for Arts & Culture Founded in 2003, the Foundation had been seeking to promote Seoul as a platform for the exploration of culture and art, with The Youth Arts Centre created as part of this activity. Funded by donations, the new facility was donated by a private school foundation named Wonsuk, and is designed for young Koreans to explore their artistic potential, and put them in touch with other creative hubs around the world via the internet.

Situated in the Chungjeong-ro district of the city, the 1,500sq-m space itself comprises a cafe, office, multipurpose hall, conference rooms and practice room, along with a complex function space. To conform to modern standards, a high-performance, versatile sound system was required. As Sama Sound Sales Manager, Dae Won Cho, already had a good relationship with Wonsuk, the Martin Audio distributors were awarded the contract.

The MLA Mini installed in the 150-seat multi-purpose hall was chosen for its performance with all types of live performance (primarily K-Pop), as well as conferences, seminars and exhibitions. The system was designed by Sama Sound’s Seung Hwan Kim.

Seoul Foundation for Arts & Culture Joining MLA family, the tiny MLA Mini is one of the smallest Martin Audio systems but compares favourably with products that are in a class larger. At the core of the design concept is the assignment of individual amplifier channels and DSPs to each driver in a cellular fashion, creating directional control. The MSX subwoofer is responsible for driving and controlling the MLA Mini and control of the entire system is governed by the dedicated DX4.0 network system controller.  Proprietary Display 2.3 simulation software facilitates its Hard Avoid function, guaranteeing a uniform sound image across the audience area. This was a vital factor within the structure and acoustic of the Youth Arts Centre.

‘There is a large back wall in the audience area and the sound reflection from that wall was our biggest concern,’ says Sama Sound Project Manager Hong Geun Kim, who was in charge of system set-up and final tuning. ‘The speaker hangs had to be trimmed sufficiently high to enable the energy to be transmitted directly to the inside of the seating, and prevent it from bouncing off the wall surface.’

Sama Sound’s system design was also restricted by the fact that the interior had already been 90 per cent completed before the company’s involvement in the project, presenting limited options when rigging the array.

To preserve the field of view of the huge LED screen, it was not possible to use a centre fill. However, thanks to the horizontal orientation of the MLA Mini, this was never missed. ‘It was possible to be immersed in direct sound even when walking towards the stage, and become exposed to a well generated centre image,’ Kim Hong Geun says.

The Youth Arts Centre had already staged several art performances before the official opening, and the Collective Chungjeong-ro Youth Arts Centre channel had posted various art performances on YouTube. 

Both the MLA Mini system flexibility and Hard Avoid greatly impressed the client, who now hopes this will mark the beginning of a cultural and artistic exchange.

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