Trio of Scottish churches opt for RCF12 November 2010
Bespoke RCF solutions have been installed in three Scottish places of worship – The old Episcopal Church of Scotland, St Peter’s Free Church and Destiny – by d3 Audio and Visual.
Director Phil Lidstone believes this purpose-specific policy has given them a competitive edge in one of the company’s core market areas. "We design for each individual application rather than use a one-system-fits-all approach," he stated. "We are known as specialists in this sector, where we integrate the two disciplines of pro audio and audiovisual under a common control platform. It’s a case of being able to differentiate between speech-only systems and those requiring a full dynamic range – and make them operable by non technical users." RCF, he says, has systems that cover all eventualities. "We have confidence in their ranges, and from R&D to finished product, everything is developed-in house. Having seen their facilities in Italy, their build quality is excellent." In the parish of Wardie, Edinburgh, the old Episcopal Church of Scotland had been operating an ancient 100V line system when d3 was called in. Retaining the aesthetics was key to the brief, and the integrators opted for RCF’s L2406 full-range high-intelligibility discreet two-way speaker column array. With its vertical controlled directivity, it provided precisely the dispersion pattern required. Eight of the L2406s are mounted on pillars around the peripheral windows. "The speakers are low profile and can be colour-matched – although we opted for the [factory] white so they would blend in," said installation director Andrew McCully. "We find that RCF speaker enclosures are well designed and thought through, which makes them very good to work with and adapt when necessary." Optimised for speech reproduction, these are complemented by four RCF MQ50 two-way monitor speakers, with 5in woofer and waveguide-loaded dome tweeter to maintain intelligibility and wide angle coverage up in the balcony area of the 700-seat church. Driven by QSC CX series four-channel amps, delay settings are programmed into an Allen & Heath iDR8, with a PL6 fader remote panel providing the front end. The clergy are fitted with wireless mics, and other sources feeding the speakers include compact discs. "Sonically the L2406s are ideal for this application – with excellent voice reproduction and accurate dispersion, which allows us to direct the sound straight at the congregation," summarised Lidstone. Up in Dundee, d3 had the distinction of performing the first refit of this type in a free church in Scotland (in this case St Peters Free Church) – thus enabling them to bring about a change of direction and presentation style. This time the company took a different approach, specifying ten RCF Acustica C3108Ws and a pair of floor-mounted S4012 compact 12in subwoofers. Some of the C3018Ws are mounted in pairs on columns along the length of the church, while others are flown above the ceiling void. d3 evolved a unique mounting solution, dropping the loudspeakers down on chrome poles. Control is again via an Allen & Heath iDR8, carrying the sound up to the raked balcony, while a Soundcraft GB2 mixer, Audio-Technica and Shure radio mics and QSC four-channel amps complete the audio package. "The requirement for the system was to deliver great acoustic reproduction of speech and music for regular Sunday services – at the same time making sure the system had a wide dynamic range to cover almost any eventuality," stated Phil Lidstone. "The Acusticas provide impressive HF and accurate response with subs delivering the extended frequency range when required. Certainly this combination provides plenty of headroom in the system." Essentially the company has provided the church with a system with a wide dynamic range, which can achieve higher SPLs when required. "This enables them to follow their tradition of singing unaccompanied psalms, and at the same time stage music events which demand much more from the system." Finally, Destiny is a growing contemporary church in Edinburgh that began 11 years ago. In August 2008, they opened their second worship centre in the city – in a converted 700-seat 1930s cinema. Given the room’s abundance of hard surfaces, the sound system upgrade proved extremely challenging for d3. Having considered their options they specified four elements of RCF TT Series line array flown either side of the high stage – one of the first in the UK. The system comprises two ground-stacked TTL-31As per side, with four TTL12-AS subs (floor mounted). Completing the complement of speakers are a pair each of TTS 18A (18in subs), a pair of TT22-A (for balcony fills) and TT08-A (mezzanine level). "Compared with the church’s original system, this is a phenomenal improvement," concluded Lidstone.