White Light has designed and installed a new sound system at the Royal Albert Hall’s North Circle Bar, utilising K-array and Yamaha equipment to transform the area into a live music space.
White Light (WL) provided the complete technical solutions for the renovated bar, which took three weeks to install and came as part of a wider development within the Royal Albert Hall. Steph Baldwin, technical project manager at the Royal Albert Hall, commented: “We strive to ensure that all of our spaces are being used to their full potential. The North Circle Bar overlooks the Albert Memorial and is the perfect size for intimate performances. Working alongside the venue’s project manager Matt Mann, we wanted to have the capability to use the space as a live music environment on occasion – which was why we contacted WL.”
WL’s Lee Dennison stated: “When we were approached by the venue, they gave us a very specific, clear brief: they wanted the room to have a discrete audio set-up with very simple controls. It was important that the audio could provide the very best support for any live performance yet not be overly complicated.”
Dennison made several visits to the bar in order to fully assess the space and its requirements. This was then followed by a demonstration with some of the venue’s main stakeholders, in which Dennison showcased some of the very latest audio equipment taken from WL’s inventory.
Dennison added: “After much discussion between ourselves and the venue, we decided that a K-array system would fulfil the brief due its powerful amplification and clear acoustics.”
The system used was a K-array KK102 Mark I. This is a passive speaker system comprised of 16 2in neodymium magnet transducers housed in a stainless steel chassis. The system provides specific vertical coverage to keep bounce and reflection to a minimum, but greater horizontal dispersion to allow for the coverage required for patrons attending the bar and live events. This is then supplemented by a K-array sub to provide a full range and extremely dynamic system for spoken word through to full live band amplification.
Another factor when deciding the system was the aesthetics. Dennison commented: “We had to ensure that the installation was as discrete as possible. The K-array speakers have long, slim features meaning they are naturally unobtrusive and fit into any room. That said, to ensure that they completely blended into the Bar space, we wrapped them in acoustically transparent vinyl which matched the room’s colour scheme.”
Alongside the K-array equipment, WL also drew on the Yamaha TF1 Mixer in order to control all of the live elements within the space coupled with a WiFi access point to allow for iPad operation. An installed Yamaha MRX7D acts as both system management and interface to allow for system use with the mixer as well as EVAC services connection. Shure QLXD radio microphones are also used within the space.
Baldwin stated: “What was great about working with WL was their knowledge and resources. We were able to tell them exactly what we required and they were able to offer a technical solution that would fulfil this.”
Dennison concluded: “The North Circle Bar is a great example of us working closely with a venue and providing technical solutions that are tailored precisely to their exact needs. As recently seen with our work at The Hospital Club and Central Hall Westminster, we have the technology and expertise to help transform any space and relish the opportunity to do so.”
Picture: Paul Karalius