BBC Radiophonic Workshop Chooses BEHRINGER

Legendary soundscape composers schedule series of live perfomances

Prom 2 (183)-17-28-2013, UK – The reactivated Radiophonic Workshop (RWS) has enlisted BEHRINGER’s X32 Digital Mixing Console and EUROLIVE Active loudspeakers for a series of upcoming high-profile electronic music events. Recognized the world over for their groundbreaking recording and sound design work, the reactivated RWS considered various top manufacturer’s mixing desks, monitoring systems and front of house loudspeakers before settling on BEHRINGER as their single source supplier.

Established in 1958 to provide sound effects and original music for BBC radio, the RWS went on to innovate with music and soundscapes for some of the BBC’s legendary radio and TV programming. Most notable of these is Doctor Who a show with whom RWS became synonymous. Although the BBC decommissioned RWS in 1998, original members Paddy Kingsland, Peter Howell, Roger Limb, Dick Mills and Mark Ayres are working together again on a new album and a series of live events. The project will include collaborations with popular musicians who have all drawn from the RWS’ work over the years.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of BBC Television’s Doctor Who – an institution that the Radiophonic Workshop’s extraordinary music helped propel into the consciousness of the British public. To celebrate both the return of RWS and the anniversary of Doctor Who, the RWS joined a 200-strong cast of musicians for the BBC Doctor Who Proms at London’s Royal Albert Hall in July. The concert, broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, will also be shown on BBC television in November as part of the Doctor Who anniversary celebrations.

The RWS will also be curating and headlining a mini-festival celebrating the Workshop’s legacy and their return to the stage at the London Roundhouse in November, a venue they sold out when they last played live in 2009.  As well as two sets from the RWS and guests, the event will feature a recreation of the Radiophonic Workshop in 5.1-surround sound that onlookers will be able to interact directly with. The on-stage mix, FX and monitoring will be handled by the X32 console and the S16 and P16 stage units.

Other RWS events this year include an appearance at Festival Number 6 in Port Merion, Wales and other festival appearances across Europe. Their new album (featuring a number of well known collaborators and guest musicians) will be released in 2014 to coincide with a series of vinyl and CD reissues of their influential (and frequently sampled) back catalogue.

The current RWS on-stage rig consists of a BEHRINGER X32 Digital Mixing Console, two S16 Digital Snakes, the POWERPLAY P16 Personal Monitoring System, EUROLIVE B812NEO Active Loudspeakers and B1800D-PRO Active 18″ subwoofers for the entire audio distribution.

In planning such complex live performances Mark Ayres, chief tech for the RWS, was clear about what he wanted from a digital desk. “Designing the system we needed was a daunting task. The RWS combine vintage analogue synthesisers with live musique concrete, discovered sounds and the latest computer technology. Creative mixing and live sound treatments are as much a part of our performances as the playing of our old modular synths. Any system we used had to be incredibly versatile, intuitive and responsive to the demands we make of it in the challenging  modern live environment. We had to interface up to 32 channels to one computer, and bus the 5.1 surround mix from another. We needed a highly flexible routing system to allow us to easily switch the shows from mono to 5.1, to use our own PA or the venues’ local FOH or a combination of the two.

We will be playing at festivals where the set up time is inevitably short. We were looking for a monitoring matrix that would permit each band member to tailor and control their own local mix too. In addition it had to be scale-able and expandable. The system also had to be compact, portable and robust enough to meet the demands of touring and studio use.

In the BEHRINGER X32 we found the ideal on-stage mixer, and we found that our other needs have been easily met by the addition of the BEHRINGER S16 stage boxes, P16 monitor distributors and associated personal monitor stations. These products deliver the perfect integrated solution for us. In using the X32 I found it easy and intuitive to navigate; it has quickly become an integral element of our touring rig. The X32 has been a revelation, and most of all, we enjoy using this gear.”

MUSIC Group founder and CEO Uli Behringer commented: “The BBC Radiophonic Workshop was a constant source of innovation in music and audio technology. They reinvented the modern musical soundscape, with much of their work becoming as iconic as the shows for which they were created. We are honored to be able to participate with the RWS in this important celebration!”

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About BBC Radiophonic Workshop

Based in the BBC’s legendary Maida Vale Studios in Delaware Road, London in the then-legendary Room 13, The BBC Radiophonic Workshop was a sound design and music production department within the BBC. Created in 1958 to produce effects and new music for radio and television. For more than 40 years the RWS pioneered new techniques and approaches to manipulating recorded sound – often designing their own unique solutions to complex technical problems.  Though the department was mothballed in March 1998, a victim of cuts and outsourcing, The Workshop’s original members continued to make music and have now regrouped for a new album or collaborations and shows around the world.

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