TANNOY QFLEX AND VLS FOR 150-YEAR-OLD CATHEDRAL
The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist has not only been an important place of worship in Milwaukee for over 150 years, but an enduring landmark as well. The preservation of the cathedral’s interior has always been a concern and one of the reasons for the 2014 installation of a suite of Tannoy Qflex and VLS loudspeaker arrays.
When the previous sound system began to fail, the church called President and Principal Design Consultant of Milwaukee’s DSH Audio Visions LLC, David Hosbach, to help. Initially, Hosbach provided a temporary solution but there were also coverage and intelligibility issues that needed to be addressed with a more long term fix.
As both a choir director and system designer, Hosbach was the right man for the job with his unique understanding of the challenges often presented by traditional liturgical spaces.
The Cathedral’s music program features both internationally known and local artists, but the Tannoy system is used primarily for speech reinforcement, vocal soloists and cantors in the 700-person capacity sanctuary. “The room acoustics are just about perfect for music,” Hosbach says, “but with an RT60 of approximately 2.5s it’s less ideal for speech. The reason we went with steerable arrays was that we wanted to keep sound from getting too far up into the airspace.”
Hosbach specified a pair of QFlex 64s – placed just inside the first set of columns to either side of the nave; two QFlex 32s to either side of the altar to cover seating areas between the altar and ambo; and a pair of QFlex 48s, placed on columns towards the rear of the church. Additionally, two VLS 30s are deployed on either side of the organ console to cover the apse and six VLS 7s are mounted on columns to provide sound for congregants standing in the aisles and in areas where shadowing was an issue.
The accuracy of QFlex was key to Hosbach’s choice. “I like the way they steer – without creating the potential for interference zones. It’s like aiming a traditional speaker, but with smoother coverage. So I get the performance of a large format, traditional horn and bass horn without the visual distraction.”
In addition to the Tannoy system, Hosbach designed an integrated video system, with ambient microphones, cameras and post-production capabilities, so services may be recorded and streamed to a wider audience.