A very modern system for a very vintage church1 March 2010
JBL CBT line array columns and other Harman family products have been installed during a challenging project at the Saxon-era St. Bene’t’s Church in Cambridge, UK. About Sound’s Matthew Dilley was recruited to devise the installation at the historic church – which dates back to 1025 – after vicar Angela Tilby encountered a system that he had fitted at the nearby St John’s.
The need to ensure minimal visual impact, the location of the pulpit ahead of the speaker position and the call to enhance speech reproduction were among the challenges to face Dilley as he worked to replace St Bene’t’s old omni-directional system.
Prioritising form factor and performance, Dilley ultimately selected JBL CBTs after seeing the units at last year’s PLASA Show. "It seemed just right, combining good looks with quality," he said. "A lot of these old columns [at St Bene’t’s] contain multiple drive units which roll off at 250Hz, whereas the CBTs are full bandwidth."
With the necessary Diocesan approvals, Dilley pressed ahead with a two-column installation, having determined that the CBT’s 150° horizontal dispersion meant that there was no need to equip all four columns.
Other components of a Harman-based installation include a pair of Crown XLS 402 stereo amplifiers, wired AKG mics (including a customised C747 shotgun), and a BSS SW3088 Soundweb Lite DSP to handle the routing matrix.
With the assistance of Dave Bradshaw from Sound Technology’s newly formed Project Support Team, Dilley instilled a series of presets into the Soundweb to complement the requirements of different services.
"It’s the attention to detail I care about and I would like to think that I could not have done this any better," concluded Dilley.