Traditional places of worship are characterised by their large size and their height, which often makes them a unique landmark within our towns and countrysides. Built of stone, brick, or more recently concrete, churches, mosques, and temples have particularly resonant acoustics, which is taken into account when we propose a sound system solution for a place of worship. These acoustic conditions have influenced a large number of compositions and performances of church music, and play a key role in determining the ambience in places of worship. They are also, first and foremost, places of communication, where the spoken message must be clearly understood by the respective believers.
Aside from their sacred value, these places of worship are of great cultural and heritage significance. It is therefore essential that the installed audio equipment does not mar the architecture, and respects the architectural requirements enforced with a view to preserving their heritage.
Installation of sound equipment in places of worship: the right questions to be asking
The growing position and the diversity of the music used in places of worship is evolving, and has a direct impact on the chosen sound system. The traditional organ is increasingly accompanied by guitars, electronic keyboards, violins... Are musical reproduction, direct audio recording, or the broadcasting of recordings key factors within the project, or potential future developments?
The buildings’ architecture often requires installations to hold the speakers. What are the possible speaker installations? Are there cables, and if so, which types? Is it possible to feed the cables? There are so many questions that will directly impact the choice of products.
Once the functional aspects and architectural constraints have been listed, the acoustics of the hall must be analysed. Are there reflective surfaces located far from the speakers? Are there domes are focal points? Listening to a person speaking from the position to be occupied by the officiant, from various points around the building, will often offer answers to these questions.
Installation of sound equipment in places of worship: solutions
Column speakers represent an ideal solution for the installation of sound equipment in places of worship. The Line Array effect allows you to concentrate the sound on the area occupied by the congregation, and the elegant aesthetic of these products means they can be easily integrated into all styles of architecture.
Contrary to popular belief, speech intelligibility increases when the number of speakers is reduced, provided the chosen speakers cover the area occupied by the public. This is why, with the StepArray range, Active Audio offers column speakers that can reach a height of up to 4 m, and with a range of 90 m (sound system in Nantes Cathedral or the Sheikh Zayed mosque in Abu Dhabi)
Active Audio column speakers are available in amplified or non-amplified versions, with analogue or digital audio inputs, and even in a PoE technology version, which enables the transmission of digital audio and the supply of power to the speaker with just a single cable. Thus, whatever the existing cabling, there is always a compatible Active Audio speaker.
Active Audio column speakers have been designed with speech intelligibility in mind. Music will fulfil its full potential if subwoofers are added to the columns. Because the reverberation in places of worship naturally amplifies the low frequencies, there is no need to use a large number of subwoofers. The low frequencies will thus give the impression that they are coming from the building, lending precision to the music and rendering speech from the column speakers more readily understandable, for unparallelled emotion.