Issue 27

Yamaha Real-World Immersive Hits UNSW Theatre

The Io Meyers Studio upgrades to a Yamaha AFC immersive audio system.


8 November 2019

Designed to allow for creative works of every type, Io Myers Studio is a fully flexible performance space under the stewardship of UNSW’s School of the Arts & Media. It recently underwent a complete rebuild and relocation to a brand new home on UNSW’s Kensington campus, with a number of significant upgrades including a 40-channel Yamaha AFC3 Active Architecture system to control the studio’s sound field.

Yamaha Active Field Control (AFC) is an acoustic conditioning system designed to adjust and enhance the architectural acoustic behaviour of a space while maintaining its natural sonic characteristics.

Io Myers Studio’s AFC3 system endows the space with instantly variable acoustics so that any conceivable type of performance can enjoy the correct sonic environment for the audience and performers alike, ranging from theatre and spoken word right through to orchestral, solo instrumental or chamber music. This new level of adaptability has led to a much wider range of bookings than was possible in the studio’s old home next door; a typical example of how an investment in variable acoustics makes artistic and commercial sense for a truly multipurpose venue.


With increasing pressure for facilities to become more multipurpose and accommodate a wider range of applications, AFC provides a cost-effective alternative to mechanical means of modifying room acoustics. It is a truly scalable solution which can be installed in a wide range of venues including (but certainly not limited to) performing arts venues, houses of worship, theatres, auditoriums, concert halls and opera houses. Even retail spaces have benefitted from AFC’s ability to enhance the natural acoustic environment as a way to elevate the customer’s experience. Yamaha AFC systems can be found in hundreds of venues worldwide, and are built on the same hardware platform as Yamaha’s sound reinforcement and installation product line-up, enabling highly cost-effective and flexible systems to be adapted to any sized venue.

Working alongside Kim Jones and Tom Brickhill from ARUP’s Acoustics and AV team, Yamaha designed the Io Myers Studio AFC3 system to provide fine control of early reflections, diffuse reverberance and warmth as well as the ability to adapt to multiple seating and stage locations. This initial design required only the room’s drawings and estimated acoustic profile, and differed very little from the final configuration. The empty room has a reverb time (RT) of about 0.9s without the AFC3 system activated, ranging right up to 2.3s depending on the selected preset. System tuning was carried out by Hideo Miyazaki & Dai Hashimoto of Yamaha Corporation’s Spatial Audio Group and Simon Tait of Yamaha Music Australia. 

“I don’t think it is an exaggeration to suggest that this space represents a new era for Sonic Arts and music in general at UNSW, and I’m truly excited to see (and hear) what will happen as this inviting venue grows into a home for culture, community and experimentation” – Dr. Adam Hulbert Sonic Arts Convener, School of the Arts and Media, UNSW 


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Issue 27