A Heavenly Sound
Mar 1, 1996 12:00 PM,
By Gregory A. DeTogne
Seated deep in the southernmost tip of Sweden a stone’s throw across the Baltic Sea from Copenhagen, Malm” is a town of around 300,000. Some of its citizens celebrate their spirituality at a house of worship called Pingstkyrka, or Pingst Church. The church as it exists today is the net result of an ambitious rehabilitation project completed in 1995, which successfully transformed a 215,285 ft2 (20,000 m2) complex comprising a handball court and an exhibition center into a new site for Sunday services. When the dust finally settled, the one-time handball court became the sanctuary in the new floor plan, and portions of the exhibition center changed into meeting areas, administrative offices and classrooms. Some of the exhibit space was left intact in the scheme and is still leased out as a supplement to the Pentecostal congregation’s tithings. Along with this adjunct exercise in creative fund-raising, the church also rents out the sanctuary on a Monday through Friday basis as a conference center for corporate types attracted to its high-end multimedia capabilities.
Swedish consultant Clenn Junefelt had the luxury of penning an audio design for a client who placed a premium upon acoustics. As a result, the sanctuary was built expressly for a high-quality sound-reinforcement system with all of the aural sensibilities of a recording environment. Reverberation times are short, reflections are virtually nonexistent, and because of the room’s absorptive qualities, good intelligibility was naturally easy to come by.
The equipmentJunefelt’s visions were ultimately brought to life with an American-style approach by G”teborg-based ART-Elektronik AB. Owned by Arnold Arnesson, ART-Elektronik outfitted Pingstkyrka with a sizable assortment of made-in-the-U.S. components, including Community’s RS-series electronically controlled loudspeaker arrays and a heavy-hitting contingent of Crest amplification. The system is considered large for a church by Swedish standards, but despite the system’s looming physical presence, none of the loudspeaker arrays are visible.
Audio needs at Pingstkyrka for church services run the gamut from voice-only to classical and full-tilt rock ‘n’ roll. In taking all of these needs into consideration, Junefelt decided that the most efficient way to make everyone involved happy was to provide two distinct systems: one for voice and another for music in full-range stereo with true concert-level punch that can also use a portion of the voice system if the need arises.
After a competitive shoot-out conducted for church officials, Community loudspeakers were selected for both systems. In total, two three-way RS880s and a single VBS415 subwoofer were mounted per side high above the platform and behind a metal screen to create the music system’s left and right arrays. For the voice-only system, six RS660s were positioned behind the same metal screen in accordance with parameters established by Junefelt’s computer modeling.
Electronics for the system reside in two different areas below. The amplifiers and equalizers employed for both systems are locked up in a room off by themselves away from unauthorized hands; the rest of the processing gear is stored in two equipment racks located next to the FOH mix position.Two Crest CA-12s provide power for the music system; a trio of Crest CA-9s are used for the speech-only RS660-based system. A pair of Crest VS-650s were given rack space for an assortment of platform monitors, including Community CSX-58S2 and CSX-38MS2 systems.
Equalization is introduced into the music system by way of the seven Biamp 301M 30-band graphic units. Given the acoustical nature of the church sanctuary, the rest of the music system’s processing is mini-malist by design and includes a pair of dbx 166 compressor-limiters.Processing for the voice system was kept at a minimum, with the most noticeable ingredients mixed into the pot from a pair of Yamaha D1030 delays used to guide the aural image projected from the RS660 arrays into the center of the sanctuary.
For the platform monitors, three DOD 410 EQs, a Yamaha TD62030 programmable stereo EQ, two dbx 166 compressor-limiters, a dbx 286 de-esser and a pair of Yamaha SPX 990 effects units made their way onto the equipment manifest. The input list is highlighted by a wireless system from Rexer, model VXR-800D, five Shure SM57s and five Shure SM58s. From the platform, all input travels to the FOH position located within the pews, where it’s mixed on a Crest Century GT 32x8x2+3 console.
A calculated moveThomas Eriksson and his upgraded TEF 20 tuned the system. He added TEF’s parallel interface to make the unit compatible with his notebook computer and provide the power necessary to run TEF’s maximum length sequence (MLS) measurement program. Eriksson, who serves as vice president of technical sales for Swedish audio distributor HBL, used the TDS and ETC measurement capabilities to set the EQs and delays, then turned on MLS to ensure that the results came out the same within the confines of a different medium.
The system performed just as Junefelt had calculated it would. With everything up and running, the reins were handed over to the church, where a staff of specially trained sound engineers are kept at hand to put the faders up for everything from a standard church service to a corporate presentation.”We are very proud of this new system,” Patrick ™stling, one of the engineers, said, “especially since we moved here from a sanctuary where the audio was poor to say the least.
“Coverage is now smooth and even, and the intelligibility has surprised everyone. Some of the elder members of our congregation who require hearing aids have told us that they turn them off now during services.”