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Soundcraft Mixing Consoles Meet the Challenge of The Cinematic Orchestra’s Epic Performance at Royal Albert Hall

We needed to mic a full orchestra, three backup singers and a number of guest vocalists

The Cinematic Orchestra performed a large-scale concert at London’s legendary Royal Albert Hall with the London Metropolitan Orchestra that required the use of Soundcraft Vi6 and Vi1 consoles at front of house and a Soundcraft Vi4 for the monitor mix.

The Cinematic Orchestra is a British jazz and electronic group whose music, as its name indicates, is expansive in scope, employing live electric and acoustic instruments, turntables, samples and electronic elements. The group has scored a number of films and released several albums.

“This event presented us with some extremely challenging logistics,” noted Mark Hornsby, owner of London sound contractor Hark, which supplied the Soundcraft consoles for the concert. “Because we needed to mic a full orchestra, three backup singers and a number of guest vocalists in addition to the band members, we needed more than 100 input channels. Since most of the instruments were acoustic, getting clear and accurate sound quality was particularly important. In addition, we were given a relatively short time to set up.”


The monitor mix requirements were equally demanding, as monitor engineer Paul Hatt pointed out: “The Cinematic Orchestra usually uses wedge monitors but for the Royal Albert Hall performance, almost all the band members had to use in-ears, and we used wedges for the guest vocalists, supporting acts and as a general backup, along with some spot monitoring for the conductor and some sections of the London Metropolitan Orchestra.”

“I specified the Soundcraft Vi4 because I knew it was up to the task – it’s become the obvious choice for me now. Its combination of analog-sounding mic preamps, intuitive control layout and flexible buss structure make it stand out from other digital consoles in its class, and I always find it a real pleasure to use. In fact, it excels in high-pressure situations like this concert.”

Hatt continued, “I took eight returns of mixed-down groups of first and second violins, viola, celli, brass, woodwinds, double bass and harp and assigned them to eight VCAs. Although I generally made the orchestra’s presence felt in the band’s in-ear mixes, I was mindful not to give them too much, as inevitably that amount of open microphones can quickly taint the mix if not pulled down appropriately at the right moments. I ran 11 stereo-in-ear mixes, nine wedge mixes plus two effects for this show and the Soundcraft handled it all with ease.”

Hornsby added, “Although this was an extremely complex installation requiring three linked consoles, they all performed impeccably.”


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