Entec Sound moved into London's Royal Albert Hall for the 7 day run of 2011 Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) shows, which kicked off with a comedy night on the Monday, followed by a dynamic mix of music for the rest of the week, headlined by Squeeze, Biffy Clyro, Roger Daltrey, Beady Eye, The Editors and Tiny Tempah.
The event is now in its 11th year, and Entec has serviced it right from the start. For the last 4 years, they have used a similar d&b sound system, which is designed by systems tech Liam Halpin, and refined, fine-tuned and tweaked slightly each time they work in the venue. This set up is now considered the definitive RAH audio system by the west London based company.
Effectively a 7 day festival set up, as well as the wide range of musical styles needing to be heard loud and clear throughout the numerous 'nooks and crannies' of the voluminous space, Squeeze were accompanied by a 30 piece orchestra, and Tiny Tempah also brought an orchestra .... so they were running 80 channels of splits between FOH, monitors and the record suites just for the "house system" .
Halpin was also crew chief, and worked alongside a core Entec crew of 4 engineers - Matt Butcher (looking after FOH), Mark "Magic" Ellis-Cope (monitors), Adam Draper (patch) and James Kerridge (stage technician), with the event project managed in the office by Entec's Head of Sound, Dick Hayes.
The 'house' consoles were a DiGiCo SD7 for FOH and a DiGiCo D5 for monitors, and also provided was an Avid Venue, running a two expanded ProTools record rigs. These had additional HD192 interfaces for all the ambient mics, effectively giving 64 channels of record, with some elements of the orchestras sub mixed.
The speaker system consisted of a main left and right hang of 14 x d&b J-8 cabinets and outer hangs each side of 9 x Q-1s. There was a centre cluster of 6 deep J-SUBS.
A single flown C-4 (top) out-shooter per side was used to fill the often overlooked areas at the ends of the circle, while the choir stalls were covered by a Q-10 and a pair of Q-7s each side.
For front fills each side, they used 2 Q-SUBS and a Q-10 for the front of the arena floor, plus a single Q7 to do the front of the stalls, together with a Q-7 positioned at the top of the stairs (i.e. far upstage) for the top halves of the stalls. A pair of E3's fulfil the stage lip centre coverage.
Four B2-SUBS running in "infra" mode were ground stacked beneath the stage - starting at 60 Hz and going downwards!
All of this was powered by d&b's D12 amps.
For monitors, d&b C-7s provided side-fill cover and 18 M-2 wedges were available, with some Q-SUBs for drums. Five channels of Sennheiser G2 from Entec were offered as the 'house' IEM system, with main acts supplying their own.
"It's a highly reliable tried-and-tested system that delivers stunning sonic results," comments Halpin on the design, explaining that practical advantages include the fact that the one side can be built without the venue's lift needing to be disabled, allowing all the other departments to carry on as normal whilst the PA is rigged.
Dolby Lake and Lake Contour processing were utilised for time alignment and EQ and the system was configured to run AES3 digital throughout, complete with a "hot" analogue backup in place ..... which wasn't needed!
The 'house' SD7 console was used to mix the opening acts each night, with most headliners bringing in their own FOH set ups and desks (Squeeze and Roger Daltry's were also supplied by Entec). A couple of outboard Summit 'festival spec' valve compressors were supplied at FOH, along with a TC M6000 system reverb. A Yamaha LS9 dealt with the comperes, VT play-ins and other 'additional' feeds, with a Dolby Lake processor utilised as a matrix unit.
Entec also supplied a full mics-and-stands package including Shure, Sennheiser, AKG and more, and Squeeze's orchestra was mic'd up with a series of DPA 4061 kits.
This year, Entec also provided a complete 8-channel show-wide RTF comms system, distributed to all departments, so all were on a single show ring.
Says Halpin, "The RAH is always a challenge to work in - acoustically and space wise - to get it sounding fabulous from all angles. With 60 or 70 channels of bands, orchestras and extras, the stage suddenly becomes very small!" So, practicalities like keeping the monitor and FOH areas small to accommodate incoming productions, all help make for smoother working days.
Dick Hayes concludes, "As always, it's a great honour to work on this high profile event for such a worthy cause. Although we have developed what we consider to be the optimum audio system for the space for everyone's enjoyment of the performances, we are constantly listening and making small improvements that only come with long term experience and understanding the nuances of such a complex space".
For more press info on Entec, please call Louise Stickland on +44 (0)1865 202679/+44 (0)7831 329888 or Email [email protected]'. To contact Entec direct, call +44 (0)20 8842 4004 or check www.entec-soundandlight.com.