For St. Mary’s Assyrian Church Of The East
St. Mary’s Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East, located in Tarzana, California, recently christened their new sanctuary featuring an EAW sound reinforcement system. The new building replaced a church destroyed during a fire more than three years ago.
After the fire, a church committee began raising funds for the new building. Once that was accomplished, the design process began. It was then that they tapped Bob Ludwig, owner of Audio Techniques Pro, located in nearby North Hollywood, California, to design new sound systems for the sanctuary, the choir loft/balcony and for a small chapel located off the alter.
“When the committee approached me about a new sound system it was clear that intelligibility was a top priority,” explains Bob Ludwig, Audio Techniques. “It needed to be relatively simple to operate and provide some control of the system from the altar. I have installed a lot of EAW systems in churches and felt confident they had the products that would fit their needs and stay in budget.”
The rectangular-shaped sanctuary, which seats up to 500, features a cathedral ceiling, a tiered alter, a dome above the alter and a choir loft/balcony in the back of the room. From the flaxen-color Jerusalem stone floors to the stained glass windows depicting scenes from the Old and New Testaments, the space was redundant with hard surfaces making vocal intelligibility a challenge.
Ludwig specified two KF394s mounted to the left and right of the altar for the main system. The KF394 is a passive 3-way, full-range loudspeaker loaded with dual 10-inch LF cones, and a mid/high frequency coaxial component made up of a 1.4-inch MF cone and a 1.4-inch exit HF compression driver.
“We were looking for stand-alone loudspeakers that would reproduce loud, high quality sound,” adds Ludwig. “The KF394 works perfectly and provides excellent intelligibility.”
Delay is provided by two more JF10s installed on the side walls, half way down the church. An additional pair of JF29s are mounted high in the ceiling to cover the balcony area. As an added bonus, the balcony delay speakers can be turned off when the balcony is empty to improve the overall acoustics in the sanctuary.
In order to reinforce the choir, which performs in the rear balcony of the sanctuary, Ludwig installed another pair of JF29 loudspeakers to the left and right of the balcony. This system is separate from the main PA and allows the sound from the choir to come from the source of the audio (ie. speech or choir/music). The “choir-only” system is turned on/off from the AV booth, which is also located in the balcony.
Ludwig explains that “during regular services there is normally someone in the control room that switches reinforcement from the main PA to the choir PA as needed. That way church members get the best of both worlds.” When only a small system is required the priest can turn on the system, select a microphone and adjust the levels from the altar with no other assistance required.
Lastly, the small chapel located off of the altar platform required another sound reinforcement system for smaller events or gatherings that take place in that space. This time a pair of JF8 loudspeakers did the job nicely.
“The JF Series is very versatile and has excellent sonic qualities without breaking the bank,” he adds. “Sometimes you just need to boost the SPL or a product that works in a small space. These loudspeakers are ideal for those situations.”
“Fortunately the dome located above the altar did not affect the acoustics much,” Ludwig continues. “However, the rest of the hard surfaces did need to be addressed. So we had Auralex panels installed half way up the side walls and again on the top portion of the same walls to tame the room.”
When it was all said and done, the parish committee and the parishioners were absolutely thrilled with the new sanctuary and the sound quality.
“Father George could not say enough about the audio system,” Ludwig concludes. “Every word can be heard and the transition from the choir to the spoken word is seamless. Everyone is very happy with how terrific the sanctuary sounds.”
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