Yamaha Active Field Control Makes World First Classical Performance Possible

In October 2021, a world first saw the Shimizu Cultural Centre Marinat in Shizuoka City, Japan host a unique production titled The Marinart Forest, directed and conducted by Maestra Tomomi Nishimoto and performed by the IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir. Taking classical music beyond the boundaries of the conventional indoor concert experience, it transformed the venue into a variety of sonic locations, like forests and cathedrals, and created a single soundscape from performers in three separate locations. This was all possible thanks to Yamaha’s AFC Enhance and AFC Image immersive audio technologies.

Yamaha’s Active Field Control (AFC) can freely create and control the optimum sound environment in any space. AFC Enhance optimises the ambience of a space, while AFC Image lets users freely control the localisation of sound.

The Marinart Forest was the first indoor classical concert to use AFC Enhance and AFC Image. Leading Japanese conductor Maestra Tomomi Nishimoto was the event’s artistic director and executive conductor, leading the IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra and the IlluminArt Chorus through a production with the theme of connecting people through music. The event’s creative director Noriaki Shime specified the system to make the concert sound fully immersive, with the sound production created by Oasis Sound Design Inc.

Maestra Nishimoto and the IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra performing in the main hall

As well as creating the immersive audience experience, AFC Enhance made it possible for three separate performance spaces to be used, all acoustically connected via AFC to create the illusion that all performers shared the same space. This made The Marinart Forest an even more significant world first.

“COVID-19 social distancing meant that the chorus was unable to perform in the same space as the audience, but AFC technology allowed us to connect the spaces for a simultaneous performance,” says Maestra Nishimoto.

“I recently used AFC technology at an outdoor concert, which created a wonderful sound that didn't feel like it was outdoors. For The Marinart Forest, I wanted to use AFC in the concert hall environment, working with Yamaha to create a new work based on the concept of 'connecting spaces'. The enforced distancing of the IlluminArt Chorus made this theme even more appropriate.”

Artistic director and executive conductor Maestra Tomomi Nishimoto

The concert’s immersive performance went far beyond the conventional classical concert experience. It was structured so pieces by Puccini, Smetana, Debussy and Glazunov became a single work, connected by natural sounds. AFC Enhance also allowed the creation of a cathedral-like ambience for the opera piece Nun Angelica.

Conducted by Maestra Nishimoto, the IlluminArt Philharmonic Orchestra performed in the venue’s main hall, where the audience was located. Here, around 50 microphones on the stage, six microphones for AFC and 56 Dante-equipped DZR10-D powered loudspeakers were installed throughout the auditorium to create a fully-immersive listening environment, with AFC Enhance utilised to replicate the experience of different spaces to suit the music - for example in a forest, by a river and the sea, in a cathedral and various scenes from spring, summer, autumn and winter. AFC Image was also utilised in between the musical recitals to locate sound effect such as the flowing river, birdsong and insect sounds to create the impression of the changing seasons.

The main hall

The DZR10-D speakers in the main hall

The RIVAGE PM7 in the main hall, which mixed the sound of main hall, smaller hall and rehearsal studio and played live in the main hall

The AFC Image Editor software controls up to 128 object-based channels of immersive sound on a real time basis

A screen in the venue’s smaller performance hall relayed Maestra’s conducting in real time to the 61-strong IlluminArt Choir. Here 16 speakers and AFC Enhance were used to reproduce the exact sonic ambience of the main hall, with the choir’s performance picked up by 13 microphones - nine for the main mix and four for the AFC system - routed via a Yamaha CL1 digital mixer to the production’s main RIVAGE PM7 digital mixing system, located in the main hall, via Dante. The Yamaha technologies made the chorus feel - and sound - like it was singing in the main hall, while AFC Image gave the illusion that the voices were descending from above the audience.

The smaller hall with the IlluminArt Choir

The Choir performed in the smaller hall by watching Maestra’s conducting in the main hall

Meanwhile, solo instruments like piccolo, piano and organ were being played in the venue’s main rehearsal room. Here six Yamaha HS5 studio monitor speakers and AFC Image’s 3D reverb realistically reproduced the sound and sonic ambience of the orchestra in the main hall and the choir in the small hall, allowing the solo instruments to perform as part of the whole ensemble. As with the choir, the sound of the soloists was picked up by five microphones and routed via another CL1 to the RIVAGE PM7, where AFC Image was used to make the piccolo sound move vertically and horizontally, reproducing the effect of birdsong.

The rehearsal room

“Another important theme of this production was delivering a new concert expression through the immersive performance of classical music,” says Noriaki Shime. “Previously, control of the audible ambience in a space has been an issue of architectural acoustics, meaning it could not be changed during a live performance. However, with AFC Enhance, sound operators can actively control the ambience, maximising the audio possibilities of any live performance in real time.

“Also, unlike channel-based immersive systems which use a fixed speaker layout, object-based AFC Image reproduces an acoustic environment no matter what shape or size the venue is. This reduces the effort needed for setup and further expands the new possibilities for live entertainment. In doing this, we were able to demonstrate the possibilities of next-generation acoustic expression. The Marinart Forest produced the best classical music sound that I have been involved with.”

Yoshiyuki Kanamori of Oasis Sound Design, Inc, adds, “In the past, digital reverbs have been used to add resonance to classical concerts, but the sound was a little artificial. AFC Enhance has a ‘richness’ which is extremely natural. By adding it to the live sound of the orchestra and the original sound of the hall, we were able to produce a natural, lustrous sound like never before. I think this is a quantum leap in acoustic expression. In future, I would like to further pursue the beautiful sound that AFC delivers.”

The creative director Noriaki Shime

The sound engineer Yoshiyuki Kanamori

“We have created a different dimension to previous orchestral performances and will continue to work with Yamaha's AFC technology to explore new sound possibilities for orchestras in the future.” concludes Maestra Nishimoto.

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The detailed, dimensional reverberation control capabilities of AFC Enhance can be used to create acoustic spaces in which acoustic images are positioned and controlled by AFC Image.


To fully support the sound engineers who support the artists and performers, Yamaha makes absolutely no compromises when it comes to quality. Sound, operability, and reliability must all be first class, and implemented in a way that allows engineers to concentrate fully on helping artists and performers deliver their message. The RIVAGE PM series embodies this ideal at the highest level, connecting technology, art, and audiences with waves that encircle the world.

CL Series

Yamaha CL series digital mixing consoles represent a new level of refinement. They offer an evolved experience in accessible mixing, plus sonic purity with sound shaping capabilities that will give the most imaginative engineer unprecedented creative freedom. The CL series embodies the leading standards in live sound in their most advanced, most expressive form.

DZR Series

New flagship models of high-performance powered loudspeakers combine intelligent 96 kHz DSP processor and advanced FIR-X tuning with best-in-class 2000 W Class-D amplifiers. Our first ever Dante models offer sophisticated system integration with digital consoles.

DXS XLF Series

New flagship models of high-performance powered subwoofers combine intelligent 96 kHz DSP processor with best-in-class 2000 W Class-D amplifiers. Our first ever Dante models offer sophisticated system integration with digital consoles.

HS Series

Powered nearfield monitor speakers built on the success of its legendary predecessors that have become a genuine industry standard for their accuracy.