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Yamaha consoles celebrate Christmas at The Royal Albert Hall

The Salvation Army concert relied on production company b+h to manage the live sound and record it for the BBC and the charity's website

Each year, the Salvation Army puts on a special Christmas carol concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall, and this year the sold-out, multi-artist event saw production company b+h relying on Yamaha and Dante.

There was a cast numbering over 150 – including choirs, a contemporary praise band, readings and a guest performance by prominent supporter Shakin’ Stevens.

Sam Lynam, business development and project manager at b+h comments: “It’s a traditional carol concert, but on a grand and far more technically complex scale. As well as managing the live sound production, we assist the Salvation Army’s recording and broadcast partner World of Sound with a full multi-track recording, which is later transmitted on BBC Radio London and the charity’s web site.”

b+h has worked with the Salvation Army for nearly 30 years and is also part of SFL Group, the in-house AV production partner at the Royal Albert Hall. The system was designed by Steve Hicks, who also manned a Yamaha CL5 digital console at front of house.

Hicks says: “I had to look at a few factors. The first was that, with a brass band, two choirs, worship band, guest band, solo acts and multiple readers all on the stage at the same time, I needed a reasonable channel count.”

He adds: “In addition, we were running a Yamaha QL1 as a separate monitor board and were routing the audio for the broadcast and recording, both of which were taking selected channels and submixes. I needed to easily route audio digitally from the FOH position to multiple locations, so for me the only logical choice was Yamaha and Dante.”

A pair of Rio3224-D i/o units took the 60 stage inputs and routed them via the Dante network to the CL5, which provided a submix of certain channels to the QL1, manned by Keegan Curran.

Lynam says: “With more channels coming from the stage than the QL1 has inputs, the ability to easily route a submix to the QL1 meant we could provide a full monitor mix to 21 wedges and three sets of in-ears.”

Dante was also used to route the audio to the World of Sound OB van. Here a Yamaha DM2000 (fitted with MY8-AUD and MY16-AT cards) and an AD8HR remote head amp were used to mix the recording.

Lynam explains: “In previous years this was all done via an analogue snake, with a lot of patching in. Being able to run fibre to the OB van meant that this time it was a lot more straightforward.”