Step Forward At London's Royal Albert Hall

Royal Albert Hall, London

Long-time audio suppliers to the Royal Albert Hall, Sound by Design, were delighted to win a highly competitive tender process, thus retaining their contract in September. As a result of this, the Royal Albert Hall and Sound by Design took the decision  to completely renew its sound system. However, this time, the winning tender was with a brand new HALO Compact system from UK loudspeaker manufacturers, EM Acoustics.

Sound By Design’s founder and MD Andy Callin, said the principal reason for choosing HALO Compact over anything else was, “it’s outstanding accuracy and coherency and an ability to maintain control of the dispersion over a distance of 50+ metres.”

“It isn’t very often that a new product really has a ‘Wow’ factor, but on hearing HALO Compact for the first time, I was absolutely convinced that this loudspeaker was quite unique,” affirmed Callin. “Another key factor is its compact size. Many of the events covered by Sound By Design in the Royal Albert Hall have a classical or music theatre base and a very wide range of genres. It was very important that whatever system was chosen fitted in aesthetically in the Hall.”

“Finally, the design expertise of EM Acoustics, along with former SBD employee, Dave Shepherd, meant that we had absolute confidence that the predicted system performance prior to the installation would be accurate, and it has already proved to be the case.”

EM Acoustics’ Operations Director, Mike Wheeler, is understandably thrilled to see the Royal Albert Hall equipped with a HALO Compact system. “When we launched HALO Compact in the Royal Albert Hall exactly a year ago with the live performance of Fantasia from the London Philharmonic orchestra, the Sound By Design team had nothing but praise for the system then – so it’s fitting that our year should culminate with a permanent installation in this landmark venue. In fact, this installation really puts us on the map in every sense of the word, and consolidates our position as a major player in the highly prestigious and competitive environment of theatre sound.”

“I’d personally like to thank everyone at EM Acoustics who has worked so hard to make this happen,” continued Wheeler, “in particular EM Acoustics’ co-founder and R&D Director Ed Kinsella, who worked closely with Dave Shepherd on the system design for the project – and of course everyone at Sound By Design who have put their faith in us from the start and have worked every bit as hard as we have to turn this project into reality.”

Senior Technical Manager for the Royal Albert Hall, Ollie Jeffery said “The newly installed halo system is a new step forward for us. It will allow us to offer a much more flexible package to the wide variety of acts we have in the Auditorium. The final result is absolutely brilliantly and the coverage throughout the building is the best it’s ever been. We are really excited at developing this to all users of the Hall over the next coming months.

The total system supplied comprised 88 x HALO-C line array elements, one custom 4 x 18” flown cardioid subwoofer, two EMS-118 subwoofers plus one AD-9 amplifier, 14 x AQ-10 amplifiers and four DSC48 loudspeaker management units.

The system was configured as follows:

Main L/R hangs of 20 x HALO-C each

Centre hang of custom sub plus 12 x HALO-C underneath

2 fill hangs of 3 x HALO-C each for choir stalls

4 fill hangs (2 of 4 x HALO-C, 2 of 5 x HALO-C) to cover circle and boxes

A separate stand-alone system of 6 x HALO-C and 2 x EMS-118 subs was also supplied as a mobile system for the Elgar Room. Refurbished in 2009, this 350-capacity room is the venue’s secondary performance space and hosts a wide range of events from Late Night Jazz, Classical Coffee Mornings, comedy and cabaret events, to family and educational events.

The final result is absolutely brilliantly and the coverage throughout the building is the best it’s ever been. We are really excited at developing this to all users of the Hall over the next coming months.

Ollie Jeffery, Royal Albert Hall

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