London, September 2020
Torpedo Factory Group has upgraded the audio-visual system at the central London home of the Royal Over-Seas League, a unique non-profit private members organisation originally formed in 1910 with the collective aim of bringing people together from around the world to meet, socialise and foster an interest in the Commonwealth.
A long-standing and fervent supporter of the arts, the Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) has over the last 65 years developed a diverse portfolio of activities in music, visual arts, and literature. ROSL ARTS regularly supports talented young professional artists and musicians through an annual music competition as well as a programme of music and visual arts scholarships.
In providing performance opportunities for its prizewinning musicians, concerts and other events such as wedding receptions, banquets and conferences take place at the ROSL’s historic Princess Alexandra Hall, an impressive room with renowned natural acoustics.
However, the hall’s patchwork of audio-visual facilities had fallen behind and were in need of an upgrade, and consequently the ROSL approached the Torpedo Factory Group to submit a design for a modern and fully integrated solution.
“The existing AV system at the ROSL hadn’t kept pace with the variety of events they wanted to host, and frequently looked to the rental side of our business to hire in additional equipment for special functions,” explained TFG project manager Phillip Palmer. “Thanks to this relationship and the need to augment their systems so often a permanent installation solution became viable, which opened up the opportunity for us to facilitate some unique features.”
“We’re very pleased with the final system. The new screen and projector are streets ahead of our previous version and the recording and live streaming is working well.”
Geoff Parkin, ROSL Artistic Director
Far from providing simple playback-only functionality, the audio implementation was complex due to the requirement for not only the reinforcement and recording of during speech functions, but the very same solution also had to cope with the recording and streaming of classical music performances. The TFG systems design team spent time with the client to understand how these twin requirements could be met while usefully implementing some of the current equipment.
“TFG showed a genuine interest in our project to upgrade the ageing A/V equipment in the Princess Alexandra Hall – which was more than just a simple A/V replacement since we specifically wanted to combine recording and live streaming of classical music into the brief – and a willingness to make it work within our budget,” said ROSL Artistic Director Geoff Parkin. “They worked with us to ensure the brief met our needs, even bringing in equipment to test in the space to check how it performed acoustically. Every last detail was fully costed and itemised clearly and TFG ensured that they retained any existing equipment which was still fully functioning and not in need of replacement.”
The choice of Tannoy QFlex column arrays as the main sound reinforcement speakers was a shrewd decision, according to TFG systems engineer Joao Barreto. “The ability to allocate the digitally steered directionality to easily recalled control presets, together with the system’s on-board amplifiers, DSP, and 20m-plus coverage capability made QFlex ideal to accommodate the wide range of applications from speech to musical ensemble from a discrete fixed location,” he said.
“TFG showed a genuine interest in our project to upgrade the ageing A/V equipment in the Princess Alexandra Hall – which was more than just a simple A/V replacement since we specifically wanted to combine recording and live streaming of classical music into the brief – and a willingness to make it work within our budget.”
Geoff Parkin, ROSL Artistic Director
The video side of the installation is based on an Epson EB-G7900U projector and Screenint projection surface, with Extron processing and matrix taking care of routing various signal feeds. Extron touch panels both at the lectern position and on the back wall allow configurations to be conveniently called up from a simple menu.
Once installed, the system required ongoing care and adjustments through several trial performances in advance of going live. “We worked closely with the client to test the system in a variety of different scenarios, using their very helpful feedback throughout the process to make adjustments and fine tune its performance – which understandably had to be perfect particularly with regard to recording quality,” said Palmer.
“We’re very pleased with the final system,” emphasised Parkin. “The new screen and projector are streets ahead of our previous version and the recording and live-streaming system is working very well. The Extron solution is perfect for us and the touchscreens are easy to use so that anyone in the hall can easily get going for a standard A/V presentation without any training needed. TFG went the extra mile to ensure the kit and solution worked for us.”