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Yamaha improves audio in church with tricky acoustics

VXL1 loudspeakers and MTX3 processor system installed in Madrid place of worship

Yamaha Commercial Audio is improving the audio for worshipers in one of Madrid’s most historic churches. A very acoustically-challenging space, Real Basilica Nuestra Señora De Atocha (The Royal Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha) is popular as both a centre of worship and with tourists, and a new Yamaha audio system is set to make it even more popular.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

The basilica has been on Spain’s National Heritage register since 1963, and so the new system had to be visually sympathetic. Integrators Proyectos S.L. had previously worked with Yamaha on similar installations – where improving the sound could not be at the expense of the building’s architecture – and recommended a system using the manufacturer’s slimline VXL1 column line array loudspeakers and an MTX3 matrix processor.

Fifteen white VXL1-24 speakers, mainly mounted as horizontally-coupled pairs throughout the main worship area, are powered by two PX3 and one PX5 power amplifiers, with the MTX3 distributing the sound. A Yamaha CD-NT670D CD player was also installed, allowing the worship leaders to not only play music from CDs, but also stream, thanks to the inclusion of Yamaha’s MusicCast technology. The system is controlled by Yamaha’s Wireless DCP smartphone app, which gives basilica staff the choice of several presets for different worship services and other situations, where different kinds of music playback are needed.

“From the very first moment we saw Real Basilica Nuestra Señora De Atocha, we knew that we would need to solve some acoustic challenges,” said Auvycom CEO José Antonio López Martínez. “Although it didn’t have a very high level of reverberation, having the microphones housed in the dome meant that we would have to sort out some issues with feedback.”

Although the current basilica had a sound reinforcement system with specific worship settings, it could not cope with the complex acoustics caused by the building’s large marble floor and central dome. Worshippers had complained to the priests who celebrate Mass that they could not hear services clearly.

“Thanks to the versatility of the MTX3 and the high quality, highly directional coverage of the VXL1 speakers, we knew that we could achieve optimal results, even with the complex acoustics caused by the basilica’s floor and dome,” added José. “A short time ago we installed another system with the new VXL1 column loudspeakers and we were pleasantly surprised by the result, especially when they are horizontally coupled, which provides higher SPL with a much narrower horizontal dispersion.”