Tate Britain – Innovative use of latest digital audio system to add flexibility and simplify control

Tate’s mission is to promote public understanding and enjoyment of British, modern and contemporary Art. The four Tate galleries welcome over 8 million people per year to view the exhibitions and attend events in support of the belief that art and artists enrich our lives, helping us to understand ourselves, our past and our world.

The Clore Auditorium within Tate Britain seats 194 and hosts a wide range of such events, including talks, lectures, performance, film screenings and conferences.

In 2018, several elements of the audio system within the auditorium were failing so Tate Britain put out a tender for the design and implementation of a system upgrade to replace some failing equipment and introduce digital protocol connectivity throughout the system to improve control, functionality, performance and reliability. Reflex provided the best proposal and was contracted to the project.

The new system was designed to meet Tate’s brief and at the same time to improve system reliability and give more flexibility to the technicians tasked with operating events in the auditorium.

The implementation went very smoothly and was completed in line with the agreed project plan and with minimum downtime of the auditorium; it has proved a great success in terms of improving audio quality and functionality and has been extremely well received by those operating the auditorium.

Clore Auditorium and view from control room
Design System Features
Clore Auditorium in use
Design System Features
  • New wireless microphones – lapel, gooseneck and hand-held, allow quick, flexible deployment and operate on DECT frequencies to eliminate the need for specific licenses.
  • Existing lectern microphones performance was improved by fitting shock mounts to minimize extraneous noise to eliminate effects such as lecturers leaning on the lectern.
  • New digital stage boxes have been provided to enable quick and simple connection of additional audio inputs from the stage area or rear of the auditorium through easy to connect Cat 5 cables.
  • All the new audio equipment utilises Dante audio over IP with a Dante card added to the existing mixing desk to allow simple software routing to act as a virtual audio patch bay.
  • All audio sources are now processed through a Q-SYS digital sound processor: mixing mono, stereo and surround sources and controlling levels, gain, equalization, peak limitation and feedback suppression. The processor distributes audio to the surround loudspeaker system, recording, hearing aid induction loop, and press feeds.
  • Dante software allows instant recording and playback of any event from the Mac desktop in the control room.
  • A colour touchscreen has been provided in the control room programmed to provide simple, efficient access to sources, preset configurations, levels and other system functions. This allows fully manual, semi-manual and automated modes, and allows the system to be adapted as requirements change in the future.
  • The audio system has also been linked to the fire alarm so that any audio is automatically muted should the alarm be set off.