Classic Brit Awards

Held at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall, the recent twelfth annual Classic Brit Awards saw prestigious award presentations interspersed with performances by Il Divo, Katherine Jenkins and the cast of Les Misérables.

Despite the extensive technical demands of a complex and sometimes unpredictable event, the production proved the capabilities of the design and engineering crew. The audio side was handled exclusively by Britannia Row Productions with an Outline speaker syteem and Midas FOH desks.

For the main PA, a 30-element Outline GTO system was flown in three ten-deep columns, each with three Outline Mantas underhung for near fill. Two side hangs comprised ten Outline Butterfly elements each, and the whole system was driven by Outline T-Series amplifiers run from Dolby Lake system controllers. The Midas XL8 at FOH was operated by engineer Colin Pink, with Chris Coxhead handling the orchestra mix on a Midas Pro6, while Dee Miller mixed monitors on a Yamaha PM-5D.

‘The power of the Outline GTO system provided a very large dynamic range while keeping exceptional detail and intelligibility,’ says FOH engineer, Colin Pink. ‘It managed to retain its warmth and subtlety at all volume levels and never became harsh.

Classic BRITs‘Although the system looked like a normal LCR arrangement, in fact the three hangs were time-aligned to four separate zones. The orchestra layout was over 15m wide, so I split this into three areas across the width of the stage and timed each area separately to the PA hangs. The fourth zone was the stage itself, for the solo performers and singers. This gave us a much more natural sound with improved detail and imaging, and allowed us to get the most out of the GTO system’.

The overall audio design was handled by special-event veteran Derrick Zieba: ‘For this event I would normally have specified another system, but a recommendation from my pal Richard Sharratt who has been using GTO for orchestral work made me want to try it. I liked it’s basic character as soon as I heard it, and as we tuned the system I couldn’t help but compare it with another high-profile loudspeaker brand I’ve been using recently, and I have to say that the comparison was very favourable. The GTO rig made it easy for Colin and I to get the sound we were looking for, which for this gig is not always so simple as we’re actually trying to augment the acoustic output of a large orchestra to produce a totally natural response throughout a difficult room. The LCR speaker arrangement, with each hang time-aligned to separate zones, worked extremely well and the acoustic blend between the separate hangs was as good as I’ve ever heard. I really enjoyed using GTO and I look forward to doing so again’.

Britannia Row’s Bryan Grant says, ‘There’s only one way to do complex and challenging shows like this, and that is to combine a highly-skilled and creative crew with the professional tools they need. The success of this year’s Classic Brits suggests that we and our team did just that’.

Closing the show in tribute to the late songwriter John Barry – who was honoured posthumously with the Outstanding Contribution To Music Award – the incomparable Dame Shirley Bassey sang the theme to Goldfinger, just one of many instantly recognisable Barry compositions.

The presence of royalty and many famous faces ensured the attention of the British media, with both BBC and ITV giving significant airtime to the event the following morning. The full Classic BRIT awards 2011 will be broadcast in the UK on ITV1 on 29 May at 10pm.

More: www.outline.it
More: www.midasconsoles.com
More: www.britanniarow.com

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