Royal Albert Hall’s renovation brings sound quality into the 21st century

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Completed in September last year and officially launched at the 2019 Olivier Awards, The Royal Albert Hall has received the biggest improvement to sound in its auditorium since the installation of the iconic acoustic ‘mushrooms’ 50 years ago.  

Costing over £2 million, the project took 693 days of labour, using 15,291m of cable and 465 individual speakers for theworld’s largest loudspeaker installation in a single room.

Planned and delivered by a multi-disciplinary team during the Hall’s busiest-ever year, the project drew on the most detailed acoustic surveys and modelling ever undertaken there, ground-breaking installation methods, and a wide pool of industry-leading expertise.

As a Grade I listed building, the intricate new sound system proposal required special building consent and had to work within the fabric of the famous Victorian venue.

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The audio inventory includes 465 boxes of d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers and includes the first-ever Circle, Gallery and box loudspeakers, the installation of new audio facilities panels and a substantial audio data network, designed and configured by installation company SFL, to support the integration of the Hall’s new DiGiCo mixing consoles.

Incredibly, none of the 327 shows that took place during the installation period were stopped or affected during the installation, thanks to the overnight engineering work schedule carried out by SFL. By leveraging the strength of its relationships with suppliers and manufacturing partners, SFL installed more loudspeakers in six months at the RAH than it typically would in a several years of installs.

For touring production managers and sound crews, the logistical headache of reconfiguring touring audio arena systems for the idiosyncrasies of the RAH is a thing of the past and, since installation, 96% of classical shows, 83% of rock and pop and 92% of non-music-based events productions have used the system.

About SFL

Formed in 1990, SFL is a leading audio-visual production supplier and integrator, both in the UK and internationally. Partnership is core to the company’s approach, and SFL is proud to be the official AV partner to The Royal Albert Hall and UK sales partner for d&b audiotechnik.

With over 80 team members across SFL Group, which includes SFL, B+H, Congo Blue and FE Live, its motivation is to create positive environments for its partners to communicate, emphasising relationship with a strong focus on delivering long-term added value to every customer.

Sam is the assistant content manager for Event Industry News (EIN). Sam is involved in publishing news stories, videos and podcasts. Sam also collates the latest stories for the EIN e-newsletter. If you have a press release or story you think we might be interested to know about please email editor@eventindustrynews.com