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Loudspeaker System Design for Worship, Part 1

Apr 10, 2012 10:06 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Part 1

Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

From Sound & Video Contractor Magazine, this is the SVC Podcast Show 56 Part 1 with Jack Conners of Perfect World Studios. Show notes for the podcast are available on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at

Just because it’s a small church doesn’t mean it can’t be a big job with three-second reverb time and no audio experts on staff. Jack Conners of Perfect World Studios used Tannoy QFlex speakers to make it all work for the Immaculate Conception Church in Traverse City, Michigan and he’s here to tell us how it went, coming right up on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: Jack, thanks for being here for the SVC Podcast from Perfect World Studios up in northwest Michigan. Perfect World Studios. That’s a mighty optimistic name. So, tell me a little about Perfect World Studios.

Jack Conners: We came from a song a friend of mine wrote and he was one of my first client’s when I first started recording and he had a song called “Perfect World” and it kind of stuck with the studio but in recording business basically we do a lot of location recording more so than studio recording. I don’t have a tracking room currently but I have a room that I use in town for tracking but do a lot of location recording, mixing and mastering here in the studio. But we do a lot of recording projects and we do live sound. I have medium sized system that we can do concerts events with. We also do design and installation of sound systems as well. [Timestamp: 1:39]

And what sort of church is the Immaculate Conception Church? What sort of worship style do they have there?

It’s a traditional Catholic church so basically spoken word and they have a piano and organ and choir, rarely anything other than that so pretty typical traditional worship style—not contemporary or rock music or anything like that by any means. [Timestamp: 2:04]

OK and they’re in Traverse City Michigan.

Traverse City, yes.

And although it sounds pretty simple and straightforward, the usual church AV job I’ve found from talking to a lot of people on this, is that they don’t want the equipment to be visually intrusive, they usually have some pretty formidable acoustic problems and they want speech intelligibility so when you mix all of those things up, you’re got yourself kind of a challenge.

You do, yeah and this church is typical of that. The acoustics are—it’s a large rectangular cathedral with a very high ceiling and sloped ceiling, wood ceiling, stucco walls, tile floor so it’s quite reverberant and yeah, they were concerned about what are the speakers going to look like and these—the Tannoy QFlex that we put in are small and we got them in white. I mean they’re narrow columns, they’re 48 in. or more high but they blend in with the wall that is white and their shape actually mimics the stained glass windows that are behind the alter so that helps them blend in a little bit. They look like they fit in with the aesthetic a little bit better but you still get people who say they notice them but I think after a while they don’t notice them. [Timestamp: 3:19]

Yeah, I guess once they’ve been there and done one service they probably don’t even notice them anymore.

The main thing about them though is that I know there are a lot of steerable line arrays out nowadays. This was the first one I’ve ever put in but I was amazed at the amount of direct sound you get from the speaker whereas before with the ceiling cluster, the central cluster, way up high in the peak of the ceiling if you were more than two or three rows back you didn’t hear any direct sound you heard—practically all your sound was coming off the walls or the ceiling and with the QFlex system in there steered just to hit the pews it makes a huge difference and even if you’re three quarters of the way back it sounds like the speaker’s right in front of you. [Timestamp: 3:59]

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