Recently, the town of Bolton decided to upgrade the Albert Halls in the town hall complex to modern standards. The challenge was to provide modern performance quality while preserving the neoclassical architecture of the historic Victorian building. After a series of listening tests, Bolton’s Technical Management team chose Dynacord loudspeakers and power amplifiers for the task.
The audio specification was written by Chris Harfield, a degreed acoustician and member of the Institute of Acoustics. Harfield is also a director at H.W. Audio in Bolton. “It was a challenging design due to architectural requirements and of course the desire for excellent sound quality and intelligibility.” The complex comprises two venues: the famed Albert Hall and the more flexible Festival Hall. The main room seats 670 to 1000 and is used for theatrical productions, rock concerts, and other events. Festival Hall is used for conferences, weddings, banquets, and smaller live performances.
Amplification throughout the Albert Halls is based on Dynacord’s new designs the C Series for permanent installation and L Series for live applications. These amplifiers all feature on-board digital signal processing, FIR-drive (finite impulse response filter) speaker optimisation and remote control of up to 16 amp channels via MARC (Multi Amplifier Remote Control) software. Overall, six C 3600FDi power amplifiers handle the subwoofers, while four C 1300FDi and four L 1300FD amplifier models power the main PA systems.
In Albert Hall, primary audio is provided by two Dynacord VL 212 loudspeakers above the stage. These are augmented by four white Dynacord TS 400W vertical array speakers, discreetly mounted on the side walls. Four Dynacord dual 18-inch Sub 28 models, housed beneath the stage, provide the low frequencies.
The Festival Hall posed a different audio challenge. A row of pillars runs down both sides, while a vaulted, decorated ceiling reflects sound down to a large wooden dance floor, creating unusual resonances and echoes. The solution was a set of six wall-mounted Dynacord TS 400 vertical array speakers, firing across the room to flood the space with sound. Two speakers flank the stage, with the others spaced along the sides with delays from the C 1300FDi amplifiers, creating a coherent sound field with high intelligibility. Four Dynacord PSE 218 subwoofers can be wheeled in for musical performances.
Technical Manager for the Albert Halls, John McMurray, reports, “The clarity and warmth in both rooms is incredible. We can now handle a rock and roll concert as easily as an award ceremony with little adjustment. These new systems have brought our newly refurbished complex into the 21st century.”