This year’s BRIT Awards was "the best yet" for audio provider Britannia Row Productions (Brit Row).
The essential dilemma of the event hasn’t changed – sightlines must always be clear, so audio is rigged as high as possible, while down on the floor sit some of the biggest names from across the recording industry, who expect nothing less than the best sound possible.
“Every year we reflect on the show and make adjustments to improve the following year,” said Brit Row’s Josh Lloyd, who mixed FOH for all the live acts except Royal Blood. “This year some new equipment added some genuine enhancement.
“We updated this year’s PA design, drawing heavily on our experiences with Robbie Williams in the O2 last year. For the last couple of years we’ve rigged a Left/Right main system of L-Acoustics K1, with Kara down-fill at the bottom. We used K2 for down-fill this year and the big gain was more SPL and better throw from a larger format box; that was a huge improvement.”
The rest of the system included four hangs of K2 as delays out in the audience – way up at level five for the upper tiers – and for the tables closest to the central peninsula where the presentations took place, the self-powered L-Acoustics 108ps were deployed. Karas provided front fill across the stage.
Mics were also updated, as Lloyd explained: “The new capsule in the Sennheiser 9000 has enhanced the presenters vocals. This mic is very stable in front of a PA, we no-longer have to zone the system to pull back locally as presenters walk into them. In fact the whole gain before feedback equation has improved no end.”
When it came to replacing Derrick Zieba – who sadly died last year – as Brit Row’s pivotal interface between live audio and broadcast, Colin Pink stepped up to the plate. A man with experience in the world of musical theatre, he took an entirely practical approach to the role.
“This year I found that set designer Es Devlin was agreeable to the idea that we might in the future incorporate two vertical strips of PA (line arrays) into her set design," stated Pink. "This was her first year at the BRITs and she was pleased she couldn’t see the PA. Es does some wonderful work in rock and roll and recognises the importance of audio; she also has the skills to make something potentially visually intrusive, virtually disappear.”
“For us there were measurable improvements this year,” concluded Lloyd. “The changes we made all proved positive. The potential gains next year could be even more exciting. Derrick always said, the important question to ask is, ‘Does it add something? Otherwise, why do it?'”