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Royal Military School of Music

A loyal and valued client of Autograph Sales & Installations for a number of years, the British Army's Royal Military School Of Music (RMSM) have acquired a large consignment of audio equipment specified and supplied by the London- based company. A DiGiCo SD8 digital mixing console plus a DiGiCo Digi-Rack configured with 56 inputs and 16 outputs was supplied to the school along with a selection of microphones from Milab, Audix, Audio Technica, Shure and AKG.

The Royal Military School Of Music is a Ministry Of Defence school specialising in music and performance, and is a training base for students enrolled in the British Army. It is a large institution that trains and produces a variety of performance types from soloists to large brass bands and more. It also features multiple performance areas at its base near Twickenham to cater for the various types of performance as well as hosting an outdoor summer season of concerts that attracts large audiences. A listing of this years events can be found here.

Concerts at Kneller Hall will continue to receive high quality support and a fully flexible sound package for years to come’

Autograph introduced the idea of replacing the RMSM’s analogue console with a digital alternative after the school indicated their ambition to improve the overall quality of their summer season of concerts. The SD8 was identified fairly early as a potential console to implement all of their requirements, although alternative options from other manufacturers were included in the early discussions.

After an initial product demonstration at PLASA, the SD8 was identified as the most practical and suitable device for integration in to the existing sound reinforcement system. Further product explanations and project planning was then carried out by Autograph Sales & Installations in conjunction with Kneller Hall staff, including a full analysis of how the console and mixing system would be integrated into the existing set up. In due course the existing system was re-configured in both signal and power supplies, additional cabling was installed to link the front of house and mix rack areas and signal patching was altered to incorporate the new digital mixing system.

The British weather doesn't always cooperate with the outdoor concert season

The DiGiCo SD8 was chosen by the RMSM for its combination of features and flexibility, making it perfect for the constantly changing performance schedules and requirements of the concert season. Ease of installation was an important factor, as the digital protocols and MADI communication streams were ideal for replacing the ageing analogue multi-core signal lines. The SD8’s extremely powerful show control and scene recall functionality allows the engineer to move seamlessly through various configurations and formats as the type of performance alters both throughout the evening and concert season.

The SD8 and its accompanying Digi-Rack also provides the input density needed for the increased amounts of close-mic’ing on the multitude of instrumentalists and performers used during the concerts. The range of microphones supplied to the school was intended to supplement their existing store, and features a range of types such as large diaphragm, side or top addressable, dynamic and condenser plus specialist vocal or instrumental varieties. By providing such a large range and variety of models, careful selection for the role of many of the microphones means signal quality and integrity is maintained from the capturing of the source all the way through to output from the sound reinforcement system.

Staff Sergeant Martin Hancock (CQMS (QAR) Instruments) said, ‘The Royal Military School of Music concert season has been the showcase for the British Army’s Military music for over 150 years. The expectations of a modern audience have of course changed over time, and the performances by today’s Army musicians have evolved to meet (and exceed) those expectations. Whilst retaining a traditional concert repertoire, modern concerts regularly incorporate a contemporary element showcasing Regular Army Bands, pop and rock groups and the ever popular ‘Army Big Band’.’

‘In recent years it became obvious that the ageing analogue desk and infrastructure was unable to provide the sound support required for modern concerts. Not only was a solution required to replace the speaker system to facilitate a wider ‘concert in the park’ audio catchment area, the new ‘Noise at Work Regulations (2005)’ resulted in less musicians on stage, therefore more amplification was required’.

‘With the help of Autograph Sales & Installations’ engineers and Mr Tim Lynn, the resulting sound package delivered has proven to be enormously successful. At many a concert, positive comments have been received on the quality of the production sound, both from the audience and experienced professional military musicians’.

‘The relationship between Autograph Sales & Installations and RMSM has been invaluable both in terms of their understanding of our requirements, but also the technical guidance provided. Consequently concerts at Kneller Hall will continue to receive high quality support and a fully flexible sound package for years to come’.

"Kneller Hall Twickenham" by Yercombe is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. "Royal Artillery" by garda is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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