Itabashi Culture Hall, located in the Tokyo Ward of the same name, is a cultural hub that offers an entertainment program ranging from pop, jazz, classical and rock through to traditional Japanese music and drama. Inaugurated in 1982, the Hall radiates calm and serenity. Its 1,263-seat main hall is complemented by meeting spaces and rehearsal rooms. As the main hall’s ageing sound system was no longer offering satisfactory bandwidth and coverage, the team at Itabashi set out to replace it with a state-of-the-art sound reinforcement system that would offer vibrant, clear audio for patrons. The Hall’s audio upgrade was implemented gradually over five years. Each year, different components such as mixing boards and wireless systems were replaced. The upgrade culminated this year with a new Kara II sound system in the main hall.
Katsuhisa Mochida, Head of Sound at the Itabashi Culture Hall, recalls the first time he heard the Hall’s mobile ARCS sound system when he joined the team 10 years ago. “When I first heard the sound, I was impressed by its resolution and clarity. And I still have that impression now.” The previous system had generated sufficient power and clarity for many years, but recently the ageing analogue network contributed to a degradation of high frequencies which required constant equalization and which was also causing feedback issues during sound checks.
When the time came to renew the system, Mr. Mochida reviewed several brands and proposals. Based on his experience with L-Acoustics, Mr. Mochida opted for a Kara II-based system, installed by Hibino Space Tech Co. “We chose Kara II because we knew it would achieve consistency of sound coverage from the ground floor all the way up to the balcony,” Mr. Mochida shares.
Hibino Space Tech Co. used L-Acoustics Soundvision to design the system comprising of a centre array of 12 Kara II, with L/R hangs of five Kara II per side. Two additional arrays of 10 Kara II each serve as side fills. Two coaxial X15 HiQ are deployed as stage monitors, while three KS21 subs per side define the low end. The whole system is driven by one LA2Xi and 14 LA4X amplified controllers, complemented by two L-Acoustics P1 AVB processors. “With the Kara II system, no matter how loud we drive it, there is no feedback. It’s amazing how L-Acoustics can provide a high level of sound reproduction for the large auditorium of the Itabashi Culture Hall,” Mr. Mochida enthuses.
Mr. Mochida is now overseeing a full digital network system upgrade, including an Avid Venue console in the control room which provides AES input to the P1 AVB processor, while LA Network Manager monitors and controls the entire system. For the moment, the existing analogue lines are still available for redundancy, allowing the system to be switched instantly in the case of emergency so that the performance can continue without disruption. “However, there is a clear difference in sound quality with AVB and we hope to convert everything to digital soon to realise the full potential of our new Kara II sound system.”