Holy Trinity Brompton incorporates four church buildings around London’s South Kensington, and total attendances on a Sunday can reach above four thousand people. So when HTB needs a bigger space for its annual HTB Leadership Conference it decamps to a nearby venue that can accommodate a very large audience in a single room: the Royal Albert Hall, just a little way down the road.
Chris Jones from Southby Productions has been involved with HTB live projects for nearly ten years and this year, he was asked to design the audio system for the Conference. Mark Sunderland, who freelances as the FOH engineer for HTB’s larger events elaborates, “d&b audiotechnik has always been my first choice and with this in mind I wanted to involve Chris as our system designer. I have worked with him on many shows and knew he had in depth knowledge of d&b systems and understood how I wanted to mix."
The two-day event demands a great deal from both the engineer and the PA system as Sunderland confirms, “The event is really diverse: from keynote speakers on lavalier mics to orchestral openers and full-on rock ‘n’ roll worship sets. 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.”
Jones’ design comprised left and right hangs of J-Series speakers, outer hangs of V-Series boxes and a central hang of J-SUBs that crucially were flown two metres downstage reducing sub spill onto the stage. Q10, Q7 and T10 speakers were deployed to the choir stalls and other “tricky” in the famously acoustically challenging venue. d&b ArrayCalc software proved to be an “indispensable” tool for planning the rigging of the PA ahead of time, as the load-in schedule for the big system was tight. “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. 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.
“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 to a 3D CAD plan. As such, we were able to export my design into the lighting designer’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% there before we walked into the room!”
Ross Cornwall, the HTB Leadership Conference’s production manager, is clear about his endorsement: “Chris Jones 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."
The Conference ran for two days on 13 and 14 May 2013. The event was reported to be 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. www.southby-productions.co.ukwww.dbaudio.com