Small things in harmony with the Sun
The quintessence of peace and harmony through music and singing, Japanese Folk Music is stark, beautiful, and demands to be exquisitely realised. "The reasons are bound in history," explained Mr Sato from M audio labo, a specialist pro audio rental company based in Komaki near Nagoya. "The instruments used, for example the Japanese harp or O-koto, the flute (Fue), and especially the Shamisen, our traditional three string banjo, all differ slightly from region to region. The tuning and tonality from each region exhibit subtle variations; being able to discern them is what excites audiences most."
M audio labo had recently supplied a sound system for just such a special folk music event; staged for an audience of seven and a half thousand people at the Sun Dome in Fukui, the concert was a private function for an important local bank. "It's a very large room, not normal for such recitals. We knew we needed something special to transmit those delicate subtleties across the entire audience. Fortunately Mr Yusuke Karato from Audiobrains had demonstrated a Q-Series system from d&b audiotechnik to us only a few months earlier. The system clearly had the superior definition the music demanded, but we were nervous about covering such a large room."
Karato was contacted by Mr Sato and was able to provide just the reassurance he needed. "We are a Sales partner for d&b Japan" explained Mr Karato. "I knew already the Q-Series was perfect for this musical style, but Sato was correct to be concerned about venue size. In a 116 metre diameter dome 40 metres tall, maybe the larger J-Series would make more sense. I contacted Mr Takuya Sugawara at MSI, the biggest d&b user in Japan and a company with great experience in large venue productions. Sugawara is an expert systems technician and he believed Q could easily provide the coverage and headroom required.”
On Sugawara's recommendation M audio labo installed a stereo Q system, a long array of Q1 loudspeakers with a Q10 for down fill each side, and Q7 out fills, with just six Q-SUBs each side of stage. "This is not music that requires low end emphasis," said Sugawara. "Frequencies below 130 Hz are present of course, but not forcefully so."
Mr Karato was delighted with the result, "When Sugawara played his check CD we knew immediately this was perfect; even Tsuyoshi Imai from Tokyo Onken, the sound engineer for the star singer Sayuri Ishikawa was immediately impressed. "I stood back at 80 metres and could hear every beautiful detail." He said.
Sugawara did drop one frequency point by half a dB, otherwise the factory set EQ was untouched. "The coverage was so good we were able to turn off the two bottom cabinets each side," said Sato from M audio labo. "We have done this event every year for a few years now and it has never sounded this good; this was as different as the 21st Century is from the Stone Age, even the musicians and singers reported back a better experience on stage. For us the benefit is double because we are actually doing a better job with less equipment than before and less manpower."
Less is more is an over used cliché, but to the true connoisseur of Japanese Folk it is the very essence of the music, this is a musical art form filled with space and delicacy; an exquisite spiders web spun in music and sung under the dome of the Sun.