entertainment • presentation • installation

Tannoy QFlex gives clarity to Galesburg church

1 September 2009

USA - Tannoy's QFlex digitally steerable, multi-channel speaker arrays have been installed in the Galesburg, Illinois' First Christian Church where they provide a compact and versatile solution for a challenging acoustic environment.

With nearly three seconds of RT, and the option of installing acoustic treatments off the table, owing to both budgetary and aesthetic concerns, First Christian needed a solution that would provide a rock solid fix without calling attention to itself.

"The Tannoy solution was absolutely a perfect fit for this application," says Trent Keeling, VP and co-owner of Peoria based, Advanced Audio and Lighting Systems. "The intelligibility factor was 'off the charts' poor. There was such a huge loss of intelligibility in the room that people were literally walking up to speak into a microphone to talk to one another."

"It took two years to get this done," says Todd VanVelsor, a newly minted church elder and long time member of the church's contemporary praise band, Quest. "I put together a survey that we sent out to all the members of the church asking what their overall satisfaction level was with our existing system and we basically got an 84% response back saying the system distracted from the message."

Completed and dedicated in 1928, First Christian Church offers both a contemporary praise service as well as a very traditional service held later in the day. During both services, lack of intelligibility was an issue; "I'd regularly hear people say, 'Well, I really couldn't understand what you were saying today'," says First Christian Church's pastor Greg Fitch. "We had a number of people during our traditional services who were actually using hand held wireless hearing devices so they could actually hear what was going on."

Still, while the need for a new system was abundantly clear, initially there was some skepticism about the build from those who attended the more traditional service - a sense that the new system was primarily for the contemporary service. Not so, Pastor Fitch explains: "Everything we do; music, spoken word, singing, drama, it all needs to be intelligible, or it's useless."

In installing the new system, as important as aesthetics were, achieving highly directed sound, smooth coverage, and maximum intelligibility was complicated further by the layout of the sanctuary itself.

Specified by Advanced Audio and Lighting design engineers Don Delong and Graeme Brown, the church's new system features two Tannoy QFlex 24s and a pair of Tannoy VNET 15 HL Subs, as well as incorporating pre-existing elements, which included a Yamaha digital console and AMX touch panel control interface.

"The QFlex are mounted 19ft off the ground, vertically, flush to the proscenium wall, and are being beam steered via the QFlex control software, asymmetrically," Keeling explains. "They're not symmetrical patterns because we don't have symmetrical seating. So we're steering one, from our measurements, down to about 350 cycles, to the first seat just after the choir thrust." The result, he says, is extremely precise. "The folks in the choir cannot hear the PA. I stood on the platform with them while they were in rehearsal, and you cannot localise the main PA.

"The VNET 15 HLs are on the ground," he continues, "and we have them disguised, in the corners of the room. Typically, in an application like this, I would normally have used double 12s, or something with more headroom, but the boxes really deliver - We have really, really good, punchy low end, and tons of it."

"I've heard nothing but praise for the entire project, and the results, from everybody from five years old to 95 years old," says VanVelsor. "It sounds like the world's biggest Hi-Fi."

(Jim Evans)


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