German house of worship given Tannoy VLS Series upgrade

A house of worship can be a notoriously challenging space in terms of acoustics, with many churches having large, reverberant spaces and reflective surfaces.

One example of this is the Bürgermeister-Smidt-Gedächtniskirche in Bremerhaven, Germany. The Mayor Smidt Memorial Church, popularly known as the ‘Great Church’ is a historic building dating back to 1846.

In recent years, the congregation had complained about the lack of intelligibility during services, with the message being lost due to the poorly-equipped nature of the previous sound system.

The church called upon the services of Blue Sound in Lunestedt, which decided that the best product on the market to solve the acoustical challenges of the Great Church was Tannoy’s passive column loudspeakers.

With transducer technology adapted from Tannoy’s QFlex range, the company’s self-powered steerable array system coupled with an innovative new passive crossover network design, VLS Series, is the first Tannoy product to incorporate FAST (Focussed Asymmetrical Shaping Technology), delivering acoustic performance benefits not previously seen across a full range of passive column loudspeakers.

Central to this is its asymmetrical vertical dispersion, gently shaping the acoustic coverage towards the lower quadrant of the vertical axis. FAST also facilitates quicker, easier installation with less need for tilting or specific concern for optimal mounting height. These features alone made it ideal for The Great Church.

The prior system had to be removed due to the poor sound,” said Herbert Heinze, GM of Blue Sound. “The solution we installed is six carefully positioned VLS 15s, powered with three Lab.gruppen E 8:2 amplifiers. They are controlled by an EAW DSP, and using Sennheiser ME 36 microphones.”

Lab.gruppen’s E Series provide ample power reserves with low power consumption. The units are built around the IDEEA platform (IntelliDrive Energy Efficient Amplifier), which exceeds the efficiency requirements of Energy Star 2.1 certification, making it a good choice for installations like Mayor Smidt Memorial Church.

When asked what kind of impact the new system was having on the congregation, Heinze said: “At last, the holy father can be understood! The intelligibility is amazing, compared to the pricing of the system. You only have to choose the right components to achieve good results. This installation proves that with the VLS columns, you don`t have to spend a fortune to get impeccable clarity and definition, even in a space like this.”

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