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Hatsune Miku Holographic Icon Performs Through MLA

Prior to the recent lockdown period in Europe, Japanese ‘android diva’ Hatsune Miku toured Europe again with production company Proper Productions and Capital Sound providing sound reinforcement with Martin Audio’s award-winning MLA loudspeaker array.

Hatsune Miku had previously toured Europe for the first time back in late 2018. The three European dates were unique in that the venues (including London Olympia) were completely diverse in size and dimension, and that the ‘Vocaloid’ music sensation, using a computer-generated voicebank developed by Crypton Future Media, performed a shrill, high octane ‘thrash’ metal repertoire to an adoring set of fans.

Developed in 2007, Hatsune Miku is actually a 16-year-old blue-haired virtual persona, who is seen on stage as a 3D hologram projection. Yet such is the Japanese fixation with anime culture she has over 2.5 million followers on social media.

So successful was the 2018 tour that second time around, confronted by a slightly larger five 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—Cap deployed largely the same production support team. This was headed by Capital crew chief, Amy Newton-Smith and system tech Ben Turnbull, with Olli Fallon providing monitor support.

While 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 have wished for a better tour,” stated Capital’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.”

Amy Newton-Smith added, “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.

“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.”

Ben Turnbull used Capital’s well 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 said, was a perfect environment for MLA to show its true ability and provide excellent transparent coverage.

He added that as with the previous London show in December 2018 the Japanese production team had been delighted with the performance of MLA for this unique, crowd-created virtual talent on the touring circuit.

Photos: © Crypton Future Media, INC. / © SEGA