Creating pure sound at Kumamoto Technology Centre

Part of Sony Semiconductor Solutions Group , Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing (SCK) designs, develops, manufactures and markets a wide range of semiconductor components, including innovations such as the world’s first back-illuminated CMOS sensor.

Serving as SCK’s headquarters, Kumamoto Technology Center (TEC) produces CMOS image sensors that are used in digital cameras, security, industrial and automotive applications, as well as microdisplay devices used in other products such as projectors.

Karakama Mayumi
Karakama Mayumi

Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation

Kumamoto Technology Center

General Affairs Division

Nakamura Masataka
Nakamura Masataka

Sony Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation

Kumamoto Technology Center

General Affairs Division

In pursuit of superior sound quality

In use since the start of Kumamoto TEC’s operations in 2001, the IT Conference Room was showing its age. In 2022 we started a project to refurbish it as the new Central Conference Room. This large room is used for meetings with executives and customers and for internal events.

Many people were asking us to improve the quality of the audio in the room. So we carefully considered what kind of speakers we should install, and their specifications. I heard about Sony’s new SLS-1A Line Array Speaker at just the right time. I experienced the speaker’s sound in a demonstration with video at Sony’s Shinagawa headquarters in December 2022. I still remember how impressed I was. Not only did the voices of people on the screen sound natural, but it sounded as if they were coming from someone in front of me and not through the speakers. They also sounded the same even when I shifted my listening position relative to the speakers.

Back at Kumamoto TEC I told my superior ‘I really want to use these’. Afterwards we had a demonstration to compare the SLS-1A with conventional speakers. The SLS-1A sounded the same, no matter where people sat in the large conference room. And above all each participant was able to experience the clear, easy-to-hear sound. So we decided to install the system.

Line array speakers installed on either side of the projector screen and monitors in front.

An acoustic space that’s heard uniformly from every seat

With our previous front and ceiling speakers it was difficult adjusting the volume to spread the sound evenly through the entire conference room. Either the front seats could hear well but the back seats had difficulty – or it was too loud at the front when the volume was turned up so people at the back could hear. Web conferencing is becoming more and more common after the recent pandemic, and it needs to run as smoothly as face-to-face meetings: this presents further challenges as it’s sometimes difficult to hear the sound.

When the SLS-1A speakers were installed we had them set up specifically to deliver sound uniformly across all the seats, with sound coming straight from the front of the room. This made it easier than ever to concentrate on a conversation or presentation. The change has been very well received. Complaints that audio is hard to hear in web conferences have disappeared.

Beam control setup screen when adapted to the central conference room space
Magnetic fluid speakers provide clear, high quality sound with minimal distortion

A stylish presence in any space

While we were deliberating we visited conference rooms in other facilities, where we learned that products like ceiling speakers were often installed to blend unobtrusively into their surroundings. We wanted to choose speakers not just for their high performance but also for appearance. That’s why we like the simple black look of the SLS-1A, with its stylish presence that blends in with the space. In the future, if colour variations are developed to match other room colour schemes I think it will be even more versatile.

This conference room also features Sony BRAVIA professional displays showing participants and documents during web conferencing, and Cisco’s Webex conferencing system. We’d like to use this as an opportunity to showcase Sony’s advanced technological capabilities – including the SLS-1A – as a comprehensive solution, both inside and outside the company.

Clean, minimalist design that’s highly compatible with a variety of spaces

System Summary: SLS-1A Line Array Speakers

3 modules x2
Playback frequency range: 80 Hz to 20 kHz
Vertical beam steering angle: 30 degrees
Maximum acoustic pressure level: 115 dB
Dimensions: 1,152 x 92 x 110 mm (H x W x D)

SLS-1A Powered Line Array Speaker

The SLS-1A Powered Line Array Speaker features eight Sony proprietary magnetic fluid speakers with flat, square diaphragms that are arranged in a single module at narrow intervals of 48mm. In addition to providing clear, high-quality sound with minimal distortion, the system’s beam control precisely controls the direction and angle of sound delivery. A DSP (Digital Signal Processor) and multi-channel amplifier with a maximum output of 8x 10W are built into the compact case. When combined with large screen displays, the system delivers clear audio evenly to targeted locations in corporate lobbies, showrooms, conference rooms, educational institutions and other facilities.