Apr 11, 2006

Houses of Worship


--A Soundcraft GB8 40-channel mixing desk is at the hub of a Harman Pro church integration package in Singapore, designed and supplied by system contractor, Electronics and Engineering Pte Ltd (E&E).

Since Christ Methodist Church arrived in Singapore in the 1930s, it had been sharing its church premises with two other congregations for almost three decades.

Today located on Singapore’s East Coast Road, CMC has not only acquired and financed its own plot of land, but has taken steps to upgrade its sound systems at its congregation halls in the Sanctuary Hall, Berckman Hall and Sunday School Hall.

CMC knew they wanted to replace their existing low-quality MI speaker systems in the 600-capacity, highly-reverberant church with a high quality professional speaker system, and at the same time address the intelligibility problems of those seated at the back of the Church — below the low ceilings of both the ground floor and balcony — and opted for a JBL solution.

Working to a tight budget, E&E realised that the GB8 would provide excellent value-for-money for CMC since it would facilitate both FOH and monitor mix control. The GB8 is purpose-designed not only for the limited budgets of churches and performing art venues but also its functionality — notably its fader control of group or aux outputs. The unique group mute function allows the on-board engineer to either mute all sounds from various sources or individually.

“The best part about this mixer,” say E&E, “is that the Alternate and Recording outputs allow the church to undertake both CD or DVD recording, and the post-fade could be sent from the mixer and used as recording for the Church’s archives.”

The Church also uses the GB8’s talkback function as a communication tool between the on-board engineer and the choir during rehearsal periods (Aux 1-5 being used for monitor sends and Aux 8 for FX RTW returns).

The mix is sent to JBL loudspeakers, distributed throughout the church. JBL AM6215/64 speakers were selected as sound reinforcement of the Main Sanctuary area, directly in front of the pulpit, as well as the upper front balcony seats. Two white JBL AM6215/64 speakers connected in stereo for music appreciation were suspended with E&E’s custom designed swivel mount brackets. These are located left and right of the centre stained glass and crucifix feature, above the raised Pulpit area and act as the FOH speakers. Further down the ‘A’ shape high ceiling, another white pair of JBL AM6212/64 were also connected in stereo, with the signal delayed appropriately from the main speaker to serve the balcony seating area.

The front portion of the balcony now has excellent intelligibility and directional realism thanks to the pair of JBL AM6212/64 speakers placed directly in front of them (as does the rear).

Two rows of four JBL Control 28 speakers each per row were installed to serve the deep rear seating areas both for the ground floor and balcony seats (with the Control 25AV selected for the last row in view of the decreasing ceiling height).

The entire system was powered by five Crown XLS power amplifiers, with all signal processing, including equalization, limiting, time delay and distribution carried out using a BSS Soundweb London Z-BLU 16.

Audio (and video) are also relayed to the Berckman Hall, a smaller congregation hall which in addition to providing an overspill to the main sanctuary, is used primarily for youth services.

To ensure that the younger church members would enjoy the same quality as in the main Church Sanctuary, another JBL speaker system was installed in this much smaller room. The FOH consists of two units of JBL Control 29AV, with another two similar JBL Control 29AV installed further down the low ceiling, appropriately delayed. Two JBL JRX112M 12” two-way stage monitor speakers and a JBL JRX118S 18” subwoofer were also supplied to complete the sound system package (all powered by three Crown XLS402A amplifiers with a dbx 1066 dual compressor/limiter).

Finally, another JBL speaker and sound system, similar to the one installed in the Berckman Hall, was also installed in the Sunday School Hall which also met with CMC’s high expectations and requirements.

“As a result of the AV upgrade the church is able to enjoy a much better service experience in the main hall,” said Earl Tan, chairperson of the Worship and Music Committee for the Church.

“Our new sound system has also alleviated the poor sound quality issue that existed under and above the balcony areas; this enables our congregation to participate more fully in the worship sessions and of course pay better attention during sermons.

“Overall, we are very glad to have worked with E&E for this upgrade exercise.”

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