The installation of light and sound in a church usually presents integrators with special challenges. Particularly when it comes to acoustics and sound reinforcement, the typical mix of speech, media reproduction and live music must be implemented in the best possible way for all applications. The challenges include avoiding standing waves due to stone walls, and the general architecture of a church, ensuring even sound distribution and visually seamless integration of the various technical components. In the recently refurbished Polish Catholic Parish Church in Sheffield, England, the responsible integrator, Magic Music, had to equip four rooms with sound (and some lighting) simultaneously: the main hall, the hallway and entrance area, and two adjacent event halls of different sizes. To achieve a uniform – and at the same time flexible – result, the Magic Music team relied entirely on sound reinforcement solutions from LD Systems.
Depending on the use of the parish church, the individual church areas are used in a variety of ways – from classical church services to live music evenings and conferences, or as flexibly deployable alternative areas. “We wanted to design an audio system that would provide a transparent, even and pleasant sound for both speech and music applications,” explains Magic Music Managing Director Maciej Szramowski. “The lighting in the main hall is not only to illuminate the space, but to support the worship experience and make the characteristic elements more prominent.”
Precise sound reinforcement
For uniform sound reinforcement in the main hall, Magic Music relied on the LD Systems CURV 500 array system. To cover the elongated room, three arrays per side – each with four S2 array satellites – were mounted on the arcade-shaped wooden elements. “Thanks to their line array characteristics, the CURV 500 systems cover the different listening situations in the course of a church service – sitting and standing – without compromise,” confirms Szramowski.
Two LD Systems SUB 88 2 x 8″ subwoofers serve as support for musical recordings or live music. Since the church band plays in the gallery at the end of the hall, two SAT 82 G2 8″ installation loudspeakers were installed as monitor speakers at the height of the musicians. In the altar area, two compact SAT 42 G2 4″ loudspeakers provide monitoring for the priest and others involved in the service. All of the speakers are driven by eight DEEP2 4950 4-channel power amplifiers, which Maciej Szramowski considers the ideal combination of “performance, long life and reduced rack space”. Meanwhile, six U506 HHD 2 wireless microphone systems are used as wireless all-rounders for the transmission of speech and vocals.
In the Bible, the spoken word counts. In church services, however, visual support is also needed to enhance the experience for the congregation. This task is handled by the four Cameo TS 200 FC Fresnel theatre spots with 6-in-1 LEDs, strategically positioned by Magic Music at the sides and centre of the church and aimed at the altar. “The TS 200 FCs provide us with a wide range of lighting options, including warm white and cool white, allowing us to highlight each element of the liturgical year in different colours and colour temperatures.”
In addition, two Cameo AURO SPOT Z300 LED spot moving heads handle the targeted emphasis of specific worship events, such as Eucharistic adoration (the priest places a host in a container on the altar) or the Stations of the Cross (a devotional exercise with several physical stations in the church). Magic Music has also assigned two specialists for the staging of the two reliefs on the wall behind the altar, using TS 60 W RGBW theatre spots. The complete lighting system is controlled via a mobile Cameo DVC USB-DMX interface on the computer and is fully integrated into the higher-level building control system from Crestron.
On the way from the main hall to the adjoining function rooms, visitors are accompanied in the entrance area by four LD Systems SAT 62 G2 6″ installation loudspeakers. In case the main hall is full, visitors can also take their seats here and attend the service via screens and the loudspeakers in excellent picture and sound quality.
Magic Music also relies on the sonic flexibility of the SAT G2 Series for the two function rooms – whether it’s for conferences, readings or as additional backup rooms in case of heavy traffic. In the larger of the two rooms, six SAT 82 G2s in combination with two SUB 88 subwoofers provide the sound reinforcement for the guests, complemented by two Cameo AURO SPOT 200 LED moving heads for the targeted use of colours and lighting effects. In the adjacent small hall, SAT 62 G2 loudspeakers with a SUB 88 provide an identical sound image.
“With the products from LD Systems and Cameo, we were able to design an audio-visual environment that allows people to fully engage in the service. As a result, after the renovation, the church not only has a modern appearance, but also a transparent and consistent sound, coupled with an integrated lighting system that gives more impact and depth to the individual worship elements.”
Maciej Szramowski, Managing Director, Magic Music
The following products are used in the Polish Catholic Parish Church: