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Largest mosque in Western Europe opts for Soundweb

Baitful Futuh in Morden, south London, is said to be the largest mosque in Western Europe. A recent Soundweb London processing upgrade saw the installation of BLU-160 and BLU-120 DSPs.

After first installing, and then extending a BSS Audio digital Soundweb network at the Baitul Futuh mosque in South London around the mid-2000’s, RG Jones Sound Engineering has now added BSS Audio’s new generation Soundweb London processing to the venue.

Two new pairs of BLU-160 and BLU-120 DSPs will provide the mosque, which is believed to be the largest in Western Europe, with greater flexibility and redundancy, advanced functionality and increased processing power.

Inaugurated in October 2003, the complex in Morden, South London, provides the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community with a focal point for meetings, social and religious events, which are broadcast worldwide on Sky Channel 787 by MTA – Muslim TV and translated simultaneously into eight different languages.

The network upgrade was approved by Safdar Ali, Baitul Futuh’s Communities National Audio Visual supervisor. In addition to improving coverage and distribution particularly in the Men’s and Ladies’ Prayer Halls, the mosque also required the safeguard of redundancy, enabling each room in the 12-zone complex (including Disabled Gallery, Entrances etc), to operate as a stand-alone area or receive feeds from the prayer halls themselves.

RG Jones was set the task of installing the new solution. Advanced system programming was carried out using London Architect. The I/O configuration was to remain the same. With a call to prayer five times a day the switchover had to be seamless and the new Soundweb London BLU’s were set between the existing DSP’s and wired parallel to maintain continuity during the swap-over.

In addition to the BLU-160 and BLU-120 devices, two local BLU-8 remotes, for level and source select, are located in the mahrabs (niches) of the Men’s and Ladies Prayer Rooms, with Netgear PoE 2GB switching enabling Power over Ethernet. The Imam or Prayer Leader simply switches the BLU-8 to auto mode, to access the new EQ structure.

One of the main challenges was the high reverberation time in the large circular space of the Men’s Prayer Room, exacerbated by the domed ceiling. This was overcome with balanced auto mixing and phase reversal across the pair of mahrab mics, with multi-band parametric EQ also implemented.

The various mic and tie lines come into the patch, and via a second patch the mic inputs can be split identically across DSPs. Redundancy has been created in the system’s Logic function, so that should one DSP device fail, the second would be able to trigger the presets, while simple control port outputs on Soundweb mute the amps.

BSS’s proprietary BLU-Link system, which is based on Gigabit Ethernet technology, carries 256 channels of fault-tolerant, low-latency audio at 48kHz/24bit, or 128 channels at 96kHz/24bit across a standard CAT5e connection.

“This was particularly useful when creating redundancy,” commented Tim Speight, RG Jones project manager. “As you can bus channels of audio between boxes easily and quickly. We also use ‘test tones’ across the output boxes to determine if the DSP’s are still online.” BLU-Link will be especially useful when other areas are introduced to the system, he says.

All the BSS Soundweb London components were supplied by Sound Technology, the UK and Eire distributor.