The latest addition to Merlin Entertainments’ portfolio of Legoland theme parks is Legoland Japan. Tejix, a technical and media design company that specialises in theme park engineering, was retained for the design and installation of all audio, video and lighting equipment both indoors and out, which included BGM, dynamic signage and even the Wi-Fi across the Nagoya-based park. The audio system output throughout the entire park is fed from a single, site-wide network and built on a variety of loudspeakers from the Peavey Commercial Audio catalogue.
‘We started from a blank page with the idea of providing exceptional performance in a straightforward design,’ recalled Akio Takeda, sound designer at Tejix. ‘To achieve consistency throughout, we used just seven speaker models across the board – from theatres, dark rides, outdoor areas and Lego models to shops, restaurants and bars – all from Peavey, and just one amplifier model. Even in areas where different speaker models are used concurrently, the sound is admirably consistent.’
‘The issue with BGM is that it is tempting for sound designers to space the speakers too far apart in an attempt to keep the budget down, which leads to variations in level and colouration that are very noticeable,’ explained Henry Corrado, founder and managing director at Tejix. ‘One of the main reasons we opted for a Peavey solution was that we knew we wouldn’t have to do that, as the same budget goes much further than with so-called “premium” loudspeaker brands. For example, Legoland Malaysia in Jahor has a total of 480 speakers across the park. Here in Nagoya, we’ve installed nearly 1,200! The result is a constant soundfield wherever you are, indoors or outdoors, on a ride or in the street, on the terrace of a restaurant or in the retail zone. No holes, no gaps and no hotspots where you feel the system is screaming at you – just smooth, homogenous sound throughout the park.’
IP56-rated, weather-resistant loudspeakers from Peavey’s Elements Series form a large part of the installation, with the Elements 108C serving as the principal loudspeaker of choice. More than 550 Elements enclosures can be found across the outdoor areas of the park, complemented by almost 300 Impulse 6 loudspeakers.
‘The Elements 108C is the main outdoor speaker for large spaces and they cover the area very well,’ said Mr Corrado. ‘The build quality is absolutely fantastic. They are a true outdoor speaker – rugged, durable, totally weatherproof and they sound very good. Impulse Series speakers do a great job in the smaller areas. They are also weather-resistant so they can be used inside or outside, and they are extremely good value for money.’
Covering the indoor zones are 72 arrayable SSE 15s and SSE 12s from the manufacturer’s Sanctuary Series, 200 PHR 630 ceiling speakers in the restaurants and retail areas, and a Versarray line array system in the main theatre.
‘I have to confess that we spent a lot of time on the crossovers to get the Versarray line array system in the main theatre, to deliver the performance we were looking for, but it was time well spent,’ Mr Corrado noted. ‘I can honestly say that the sound quality now is really very good indeed, and once again, at a fraction of the price of other comparable line array systems.’
Although there were constraints due to Japanese building regulations and a language barrier between Tejix and the local crew, the installation went well from start to finish. ‘In Japan, you can’t just attach a speaker to a wall, it has to be attached to the primary structure of the building,’ said Mr Corrado. This meant that custom brackets were produced for each surface-mounted loudspeaker. As for the crew, a colour-coding system was devised to enable the crew to see what needed to be installed where. ‘When there are 1,200 loudspeakers to install, the scope for error is quite considerable,’ added Mr Corrado. ‘I’m pleased to say that it worked pretty well in the end.’
Tejix calibrated the system using Rational Acoustics Smaart software with digital wireless microphones and due to the single-network setup, all of the settings were configured over Wi-Fi. The final result is one that Mr Corrado is pleased with. ‘It was a huge job that took several weeks,’ he concluded. ‘The Peavey sound design with a digital backbone has worked very well. It enabled us to supply enough loudspeakers to cover every zone comfortably with headroom to spare and we know it’ll be extremely reliable. The single network has enabled us to manage the 500+ audio channels efficiently, thus achieving our goal of combining the simplicity of a centralised system with the flexibility of a distributed approach. The client is delighted because it sounds great throughout the park and has achieved all of his price goals. I’m sure this is a design concept we’ll be returning to for future projects.’