d&b ArrayCalc ensures HTB conference success at Royal Albert Hall
WORLD: Southby Productions was recently tasked with designing the audio system for Holy Trinity Brompton’s (HTB) annual two-day HTB Leadership Conference at London’s 5,250-capacity Royal Albert Hall. Southby Productions’ Chris Jones advised that products from d&b audiotechnik were most appropriate for HTB’s event, which was so oversubscribed that it was streamed live to HTB’s church on Brompton Road and was made available to an audience in over 70 countries.
‘d&b audiotechnik has always been my first choice, and with this in mind I wanted to involve Chris Jones as our system designer,’ commented Mark Sunderland, who freelances as the FOH engineer for HTB’s larger events. ‘I have worked with Chris on many shows and knew he had in depth knowledge of d&b systems and understood how I wanted to mix.
‘The event is really diverse: from keynote speakers on lavalier mics to orchestral openers and full on rock and roll worship sets,’ he furthered. ‘The system design we were looking for had to ensure speech intelligibility and coverage throughout the Albert Hall whilst still delivering the SPL required for high energy worship.’
Mr Jones’ design comprised left and right hangs of d&b J8/J12s, outer hangs of V8/V12s, with a central hang of J-Subs flown 2m downstage, reducing sub-spill onto the stage. More J-Subs were located under the front of the stage configured in Infra mode for extended low-end. For the various fill requirements, Mr Jones utilised Q10 and Q7 loudspeakers for the choir stalls and T10s for the venue’s other challenging areas.
‘This is the second time that HTB have held their Leadership Conference at the RAH and this year, from a sound reinforcement perspective, they requested increased SPL and a stereo system for the middle sections of the venue,’ explained Mr Jones. ‘However, we had a really tight load-in schedule of 1.00 am for a 7.00 am sound check with doors opening at 9.00 am. For a rig of this size and complexity, not to mention the challenges of rigging in the RAH, this was going to be quite a challenge.’
However, Mr Jones and the team from audio supplier SFL Group were able to pre-rig some points a day before the load in, finding d&b’s ArrayCalc to be an indispensable tool.
‘Using ArrayCalc is always a valuable exercise but in this instance we simply could not have done it without all the pre planning tools that ArrayCalc provides,’ insisted Mr Jones. ‘The new Version 7 now accommodates line array, point source and hybrid designs which was essential for designing a system employing such a variety of loudspeakers. Once the hangs were at trim it really was just a matter of utilising Tuning Capture's impulse responses to hone down various delay times and system EQs.
‘Prior to the event there was also concern that some of the sight lines in the venue would be affected by the loudspeaker hangs, but ArrayCalc V7 allows you to export your loudspeaker design as dxf files which means the system can be imported into a 3D CAD plan. As such, we were able to export my design into the LD's 3D WYSIWYG file of the hall; allowing the HTB production team to virtually sit in the venue from any angle and sign off the design. I would estimate that we were 90 per cent there before we walked into the room; it really is a simply brilliant tool!’
‘Utilising the d&b ArrayCalc software meant that Chris had done a lot of hard work and tweaks before we’d even entered the building,’ concurred Mr Sunderland. ‘Within the hall we were employing the d&b J-Series, V-Series and T-Series and I was very impressed by the tonal similarity between the HF range of the different loudspeakers. This was a massive help to me from a mixing perspective as when we needed to make a change in the main arrays I knew it would translate well across the whole system.’
‘When HTB asked me to production manage this event I knew I wanted Chris Jones, Southby Productions and d&b audiotechnik,’ asserted Ross Cornwall, the HTB Leadership Conference’s production manager. ‘Southby Productions have a strong historical relationship with d&b and have achieved great results with shows I have been involved with in the past. Chris certainly nailed the brief and installed the best sounding audio system I have ever heard in the Royal Albert Hall, no matter where I was standing!’