Located in the east end of the Tokyo metropolis, opened in 1992, Katsushika Symphony Hills cultural center serves the ward with a range of cultural programs. The center consists of two halls. The main 1,318-seat Mozart Hall, which was named in honor of the ward’s friendship city agreement with the Floridsdorf district of Vienna. The hall boasts some of the best acoustics among Japan’s numerous concert halls. Its smaller companion, the 298-seat Iris Hall, takes its name from the symbolic flower of Katsushika ward. Both spaces offer classical and pop music concerts by Japanese and international artists. Along with dance, theatrical and art performances, the center also offers a diverse range of events for people of all ages since its opening in 1992.
As the center’s 30th anniversary approached, and in response to audience feedback regarding the quality of the venue’s existing audio system, the management team decided to upgrade the sound systems in both performance halls, while simultaneously renovating the building’s architecture. Requiring a flexible and easy-to-use system that could reinforce sound for the various types of content in the halls, several providers were invited to demonstrate solutions for review by a team that included an acoustic consultant and a facility construction company. Following the comparative demo, the team chose an L-Acoustics Kara II system from Tokyo-based L-Acoustics Certified Provider Bestec Audio.
The system design in the Mozart Hall – which possesses a similar shoebox interior architecture as the Wiener Musikverein – the home of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra – took precedence. The proscenium speakers needed to be re-positioned to allow for uniform distribution of sound pressure levels both horizontally and vertically throughout the hall, improving on clarity in high frequencies to the upper-level balconies.
The L/R system consists of two arrays of seven Kara II each, topped with one SB18 subwoofer. A center array of six Kara II with one SB18 provides coverage for the ground floor audience in the middle seats. Six 5XT are embedded under the stage as front-fills, while one Syva per side acts as side-fill. One X8 per side cover the front of the balcony floor. Performers on stage can enjoy sound from a total of eight X12 monitors, with two rigged up L/R and six placed on the stage floor.
For added flexibility, the theatre is also equipped with a mobile system of two stacks of six Kara II and two SB18 subwoofers that can be used for shows requiring more dynamic SPL. 14 LA4X amplified controllers drive the entire system.
Meanwhile, the Iris Hall was installed with two A15 Focus vertical arrays per side as the main system. Front fill consists of four 5XT embedded under the stage, with one X12 mounted on each side wall. The stage monitoring system consists of one X12 mounted on each side wall, and two X12 monitors placed on the stage floor.
The Iris Hall also has a mobile system, of one X15 HiQ atop one SB18 subwoofer per side. 10 LA4X amplified controllers drive the entire system.
Since the upgrade, the main and mobile systems have met the in-house needs of the technical team, and the various performers and world-class productions it supports. Now, visitors to the Katsushika Symphony Hills center, who are welcomed by a life-size statue of Mozart at the main entrance, are treated to pristine sound within both halls.
“While we have always marketed Katsushika as having great sound, in reality, we got as many negative comments as positive ones from audiences before. Now, we have no complaints at all. This new system does not disappoint. We are proud to continue providing a world-class theatre experience to our community,” reveals the Symphony Hills technical team.