Tannoy and Lab.gruppen installation for Washington house of worship

Tannoy loudspeakers and Lab.gruppen amplifiers are part of a new upgrade to the sound system at Sacred Heart Church in Bellevue, Washington.

“Previously, they had no real high-end in the room. There was no intelligibility. The room sounded muffled and speech was indistinct, so the priest always felt like he wasn’t loud enough,” said Morgan Sound A/V consultant, Stephen Weeks. “Tannoy’s dual concentric technology is very helpful for keeping things coherent. The speakers are very clear, very clean and very warm in the low-end, and there were no smear issues like you might experience with a more traditional box, which was critical.”

The 750-capacity sanctuary is a decidedly modern and elegant space. “Although impressive, it’s also very reverberant,” Weeks continued. “It has high ceilings, a lot of marble, concrete, windows and the altar platform is extended, so the seating surrounds it by 270°. There are also some areas with low ceilings surrounding the platform that account for 50 per cent of the seating capacity.”

Essentially, there was no way to cover the entire room effectively and discreetly from a single location, so Weeks, along with company founder Charlie Morgan, specified one Tannoy VX 15Q for the main seating area and flanked it with five time-delayed VX 5.2s per side – pointed out and down towards each section with the low ceilings to localise the sound to the stage. Five Tannoy IS 52s were built into the stairs of each facet of the octagonal platform for front fill. Two Tannoy VX 6s and a pair of DVS 4s provide a feed from the priest’s podium/headset microphones for Sacred Heart’s choir, and for the church’s organist, respectively.

Weeks also specified Lab.gruppen amplifiers exclusively – a pair of channels mono-bridged from a C 16:4 for the central VX speaker, two C 20:8 amplifiers for the VX 5.2s and IS 52s and a pre-existing third party amp to drive the stage monitors.

The project involved ensuring the spoken word could be heard clearly. As well as that, a diverse musical program that encompasses both traditional and modern styles performed by Sacred Heart’s choir, individual cantors, or small instrumental ensembles was subtly enhanced.

"The result is night and day,” added Weeks. “Since the install of the Tannoy loudspeakers and Lab.gruppen amplifiers we’ve had nothing but high praise for the entire system and the sound overall.”

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