Royal Albert Hall bumps up its spaceships

Royal Albert Hall bumps up its spaceships


norman lebrecht

April 03, 2019

After half a century of variable acoustics, the hall has augmented the mushrooms suspended from its ceiling with 465 speakers installed around the auditorium. Total cost: just two million pounds.

We’ll let you know shortly if it’s much of an improvement for non-amplified orchestral concerts.

Report on the upgrade here


  • Hanna Nahan says:

    Where does it say they’re replaced? Surely the speakers are supplementary?

  • Allen says:

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

    Am I missing something here? Does that mean that the echo will be back? How can an installation of speakers remove an echo? There must be more to this.

  • Will says:

    Doesn’t say they have been replaced, just a new speaker system for amplified music.

    • Allen says:

      I’m pretty sure it used to say “Royal Albert Hall takes down its spaceships”, and Firefox “Debugger” still shows this title.

  • Alexander says:

    as far as I could guess The RAH has never been the venue for a classical music ( non -amplified), so far it is just a hall for events. Any way it would be interesting to know how this improvement could affect the acoustics for live ( non electric / amplified etc) sound. Hopefully London will build a special concert hall for those purposes soon.

    • Viola da Bracchio says:

      I wonder which other major European concert-halls also host championship boxing matches? I couldn’t find a single boxing event on the program of the Philharmonie in Berlin, the Moscow Conservatoire, or the Elb-Philharmonie.

      Do boxing fans care about acoustics? I guess that if a slab of raw meat is thrown in the ring, that’s all that matters for them.

    • Paul Wright says:

      Well the RAH does (among other classical music concerts through the year) host the BBC Proms for 8 weeks each summer – or does that still not make it a venue for classical music in your view?

      • Alexander says:

        of course the RAH does host, all the same it is not a special venue for a classical music. If London doesn’t have other venue for that the RAH ( taking into account its history and name) is good one ( with amplifying I can think). Any way it would be much better to have a beautiful new concert or philharmonic hall at last. this is just my opinion. Your opinion is that the RAH is quite O’K for classics ( as I could understand it) and you didn’t say anything more.

        • Paul Wright says:

          I completely support the creation of a new state of the art concert hall for London. Clearly the RAH is far from ideal for classical music. My earlier comment was simply responding to the apparent suggestion that the RAH did not host classical music. It does, albeit not wholly satisfactorily.