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Q & A: Loudspeaker Cluster

I'm installing a loudspeaker cluster in a large, stone-walled church. For aesthetic reasons, the church will only allow us to install the cluster 35 feet off of the floor in the ceiling beams. As you can imagine, RT60 is very high, and we're very concerned about speech intelligibility.

Q: I'm installing a loudspeaker cluster in a large, stone-walled church. For aesthetic reasons, the church will only allow us to install the cluster 35 feet off of the floor in the ceiling beams. As you can imagine, RT60 is very high, and we're very concerned about speech intelligibility. Do you have a suggestion of what would work in this situation?

A: The old school of thought is to use a cluster of high-quality horns, and hope for the best. Fortunately, newer DSP-based, self-powered systems perform very well for these situations. Basically, they're traditional speaker columns made steerable by each individual driver being self-powered and controlled by a DSP. Several manufactures currently offer these types of speaker systems, which allow you to match the coverage area to the listening area. Because of their small size, you can mount these speakers low and flush on a wall or column. I suggest setting up the speaker system outside your shop, and learning how it works and how to steer the patterns before you attempt to install it. We specified these speaker systems in rooms with 5-second and longer reverberation times with remarkable results. But it takes practice to use them correctly.

– Steve Durr, owner, Steve Durr Designs, an independent AV consulting firm based in Nashville, TN

Next month's question: I'm installing a screening room for digital cinema. The client wants to be able to play DVDs in his screening room that will provide sound and image quality as close as possible to what the films' creators had in mind. Are there any standards for audio and projection systems to achieve this goal?

Send your responses to proav@ascendmedia.com. If you have a question you'd like your AV colleagues to answer, send it to the same email account. If we use your question, we'll send you a coolPro AVgift.



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