“The hall was designed by royal engineers, not architects or acousticians…”*

*Stephen Stringer, an architect at Sandy Brown whose team led the acoustic review of the Royal Albert Hall.

From Wikipedia:

“The Queen’s Hall was a concert hall in Langham Place, London, opened in 1893. Designed by the architect Thomas Knightley, it had room for an audience of about 2,500 people. It became London’s principal concert venue. From 1895 until 1941, it was the home of the promenade concerts (“The Proms”) founded by Robert Newman together with Henry Wood. The hall had drab decor and cramped seating but superb acoustics. It became known as the “musical centre of the [British] Empire”, and several of the leading musicians and composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries performed there, including Claude Debussy, Edward Elgar, Maurice Ravel and Richard Strauss.

In the 1930s, the hall became the main London base of two new orchestras, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. These two ensembles raised the standards of orchestral playing in London to new heights, and the hall’s resident orchestra, founded in 1893, was eclipsed and it disbanded in 1930. The new orchestras attracted another generation of musicians from Europe and the United States, including Serge Koussevitzky, Willem Mengelberg, Arturo Toscanini, Bruno Walter and Felix Weingartner.

In 1941, during the Second World War, the building was destroyed by incendiary bombs in the London Blitz. Despite much lobbying for the hall to be rebuilt, the government decided against doing so. The main musical functions of the Queen’s Hall were taken over by the Royal Albert Hall for the Proms, and the new Royal Festival Hall for the general concert season.”

Zoe Kleinman reported for BBC News on 2 April 2019:

“The Royal Albert Hall has unveiled a £2m ($2.6m) speaker system designed to give the audience the same sound quality no matter where they are inside the auditorium.

It comprises 465 speakers and more than 15,000m (49,000ft) of cable.

It took 693 days to install, with most of the work carried out at night.

The last major improvement made to the hall’s acoustics was in 1969, when giant discs were attached to the ceiling.

The fibreglass “mushrooms”, as they became known, fixed an echo caused by the domed roof that had dogged the 148-year-old auditorium.

There are now speakers suspended from the ceiling all the way around the outside edge of the oval ceiling, as well as three speakers in each of the boxes that circle two tiers.

Detailed planning permission was required to make changes to the Grade I listed building in London.

The venue hosts hundreds of events every year, ranging from orchestral concerts and rock gigs to boxing matches and university graduations.

The speakers were deployed for the first time during concerts held by the Teenage Cancer Trust last week.

Gary Bradshaw, a sound engineer who has worked with Take That, Kylie Minogue and George Michael, said the new system had “greatly improved” the sound in the higher levels of the auditorium.

“The coverage was complete and the clarity and punch in all areas were impressive,” he said…”

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