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Solutions: Dynacord arrays cut reverberation time at Gothic cathedral

Replacing an obsolete sound system while preserving the structure’s heritage was the challenge at this important Gothic cathedral.

Built from the 13th century onwards, the Cathedral of Verden is the first Gothic cathedral of Lower Saxony. After the Reformation it was used as a Lutheran bishops’ see, and today boasts the oldest hall-surrounding choir in Germany.

The cathedral’s sound equipment had become outdated following 40 years of use, and so the parish turned to local integrator Axel Hartig and his company Musikhaus Hartig to install a new sound reinforcement system.

Due to the 38m height of the building, the new system not only had to improve the sound quality but also reduce the six-second reverberation time. Hartig opted for a Dynacord system: “We wanted to let everyone really experience the advantages of a professional audio system,” explains Hartig. “That is why we did an on-site comparison with a Vertical Array System from Dynacord, an ideal system for challenging venues.”

The Dynacord solution received positive feedback and Hartig and his team were commissioned to install the system in a week.

The cathedral, which was divided into eight zones, now features a variety of Dynacord Vertical Array Systems. Left and right of the nave, Hartig and his team positioned a total of 10 speakers, consisting of TS 200s and TS 100s. Each speaker is equipped with a delay appropriate to its position. At the bottom of the altar, at the cathedral’s crossing, two TS 400 speakers ensure optimal sound.

For the transept and the choir area eight TS 200s were used, and the aisles are covered by six TS 100s. In the galleries, where the organs as well as the cathedral and trombone choirs are occasionally positioned, four additional pairs of Electro-Voice EVID 4.2W dual-4in speakers were installed.

“No matter what size, the loudspeakers of the Vertical Array Series are fantastic,” comments Hartig. “They provide a very high level of intelligibility and homogenous sound throughout the cathedral.”

An important facet of the Dynacord system was its design and colour: “There was no way we were going to install a system with massive black boxes”, recalls Hartig. “With their aesthetic, slim design and white coating, the TS speakers blend wonderfully into the cathedral’s interior.”

Driving the speakers are seven Electro-Voice PA2450L and one Dynacord DSA 8204 amp, and a Dynacord P64 digital audio matrix manager provides control and monitoring of the system.

Hartig adds: “In the cathedral, we worked with normal power sockets. Here, we plugged together eight sockets, which creates a high inrush current, something not especially good for the power fuse. We therefore built a power delay, which runs on a 10V signal. It’s great that the P64 can give a signal to such an analogue 10V output.”

In order to easily adjust system settings or for adding and removing zones remotely, Hartig provided the operators with a tablet, which shows the cathedral’s ground plan and individual buttons. “This way, anyone can operate the system without mistuning it or changing the settings – a feature especially welcomed by the parish clerk.” And it is she, along with the congregation, who was the first to praise the new sound reinforcement system. “Even if you move along the cathedral, you don’t notice any transitions between zones. The sound seems to come from one single source.”