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St Georges Concert Hall

The grade two listed Victorian building that is Bradford St George’s Hall was created by HF Lockwood and W Mawson who won a competition in 1849 to find a design for a new concert hall in the prosperous northern industrial city. Constructed of ashlar sandstone masonry in the neoclassical style, the building was formally opened in August 1853, with the interior undergoing extensive remodelling after WWII and again after fires in the 1980s. Originally built as a public performance space for ‘notable speakers and performers’, it also hosted music hall performances and cinematic performances before becoming a full-time cinema in 1949. In 1953 it reverted to its original use and has remained a multi-purpose venue owned and run by Bradford Council ever since.

With a seated capacity of over 1600 it is renowned for its exceptional acoustics and intimate atmosphere, and is consequently a popular choice for a diverse range of music, comedy, musicals, festivals, and much more. The venue also hosts one of the UKs longest running orchestral seasons, with the Halle? as resident orchestra.

The Meyer M1D line array providing coverage to the upper circle

Autograph Sales and Installations won a competitive tender for the contract to update the house sound system and have recently completed the project, combining a range of self- powered Meyer Sound and Yamaha-powered EM Acoustics loudspeaker products with a DiGiCo SD9 digital mixing console. The system was designed by Chris Austin of AS&I (who also project-managed the whole installation) with assistance from freelancer Paul Johnson. A&SI also provided a full day’s console training in Bradford as part of their pre-sales support for the client.

The central cluster comprises four Meyer Sound M1D enclosures while a pair of UPA-Ps plus EM EMS-115 subs cover the stalls, and EM i-2s are used as front fills. EM EMS-51s are used for the circle fills and the same company’s EMS-81s are used as fills for the grand tier behind the main cluster. Yamaha XP-series amplifiers are used to drive the EM Acoustics loudspeakers and two Xilica XP-3060 processors control the various delays. Due to the very natural acoustics of the venue, no system EQ was required at all.

Chris Barlow training his team on the new Digico SD9

Like most modern installation projects, A&SI were required to meet a very strict budget whilst designing and implementing a system fully capable of not only covering the space but also of being able to handle the diverse range of productions that come through the venue annually. Embracing the digital infrastructure played a key role in staying within the financial constraints, with 32 tie lines routed from the stage to the amp rack then tailing directly into the Digico stage box sited there. Outputs then had to cover only relatively short distances from the stagebox to the amps or speakers as necessary.

Chris Barlow, Technical Electrics Manager, Bradford Theatres said, ‘It was good working with Chris and the team from Autograph, as they knew what we were after from the start and worked hard to get the best coverage within the budget. The new installation increased the clarity and coverage within the venue to give our audiences a more enjoyable experience when they attend our shows. The training on site was very useful and got us up to speed with the new system very quickly. I would be more than happy to work with Autograph again in the future’.

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