The following article are picked from Worship AVL here.
Curvs and lines of grand designs
Following the cornerstone being laid on Malacca Street in September 1899, the Tamil Methodist Church Kuala Lumpur (TMCKL) at Brickfields has continued to welcome a mixed congregation of locals and expatriates to conduct prayer meetings and Bible studies. Rebuilt in 1961, the style of worship has gradually blended musical elements into their services. With an increase in SPLs over the years, decreasing audio intelligibility prompted a recent overdue upgrade.
The single story elongated 26m x 12m sanctuary is topped with an inverted V-shaped roof that climbs to an apex of 9m that creates lengthy reverberation times. An analogue mixer with point source speakers had served the needs of TMCKL for two decades but had demonstrated audible signs of fatigue in recent years. With this acoustic challenge in mind, the Tamil Methodist Church leaders decided to upgrade their audio system to serve the current and future needs of their 300-capacity congregation.
“We were looking for a loudspeaker system that could deliver both speech clarity together and musical dynamics, without distracting the traditional aesthetics of the architecture,” commented TMCKL music and worship minister Andrew Selvaraj. “The previous outdated loudspeaker system was visually too obtrusive and couldn’t deliver the optimal coverage to all the seats. If faith comes by hearing, we decided that our church sound system should become a priority.”
Having undertaken an extensive needs assessment study including several audio evaluations, TMCKL commissioned Bronte Audio Solutions. Rather than adopt a regular L-R loudspeaker configuration, Bronte Audio Solutions modelled its successful design on a distributed system of 12 LD Systems CURV500 S2 satellite array speakers that are hung in six pairs. Supplemented by four CURV 500 iSub 10-inch subwoofers, the paired dual 4-inch arrays are bridged and attached by 122mm height SLA Smartlink adapters.
The six pairs of distributed, passive speakers and four subwoofers are powered by three CURV 500 iAmp 4 x 240W amplifiers. Loaded with presets for various satellite and subwoofer configurations, each four-channel amplifier offers DSP control including delay and parametric EQ. Importantly for the church volunteers, the single push encoder and OLED display on the front panel of the iAMP makes operation intuitive when powering on and off in addition to making adjustments on the fly. LD Systems distributor AV United Sdn Bhd also supplied two Audio-Technica U859QL gooseneck microphones for the pastor’s lectern in addition to three Yamaha DXS8 active monitors. An Allen & Heath SQ5 console completes the signal chain and the audio upgrade.
Bronte Audio Solutions project manager Cheah Kok Hon reflected on the results of the three-day installation and commissioning process. “Not only does the CURV 500’s minimalistic design complement the church aesthetics, it duly delivers sonic intelligibly to every seat in the room without compromise. When commissioning the system with spoken word and live music, the results went beyond our expectations.”
Church leader Selvaraj, the musicians, choir and worshippers are renewed with the audio upgrade. Over 20 years, ears became accustomed to the decreasing sound quality and their collective senses were seemingly numbed. The net affects following the upgrade are profound and the worship experience of the congregation has been duly raised. “Everyone at TMC KL is excited with the addition of the CURV 500 loudspeakers,” explained Selvaraj. “We are now experiencing intelligible sermons and prayers in addition to high-definition audio quality for our live music services. We feel elation in what we are now hearing.”