Westwood Lutheran Church, located just outside Minneapolis in St. Louis Park, was built in the early 1960s, and since then it has provided traditional church services to the community.
Recently the leadership at Westwood Lutheran decided to bring contemporary services into their main sanctuary, and at the same time decided to change the configuration of the sanctuary by moving the altar towards the center of the sanctuary and restructuring the seating to surround the altar, to further reflect a more modern service.
Kirkegaard Associates, a prominent acoustical and system design firm in Chicago, was asked to design the new sound system, with Kodet Architectural of Minneapolis tapped for room layout and design. Midco A/V, also of Minneapolis, was retained to install the new system.
The sanctuary, a long, rectangular space, was filled with hard reflective surfaces. The new “seating in the round” floor plan provided by Kodet Architectural required a system that could cover all of the seating areas while remaining visually out of sight.
In addition, instead of utilizing traditional wooden pews, the new layout incorporated configurable seating which would afford the church more flexibility for events other than services hosted in the sanctuary.
Richard Laidman, senior consultant at Kirkegaard Associates, chose to utilize Tannoy Qflex array loudspeakers. The self-powered Qflex system, with onboard DSP, offers full-range beam steering in order to steer beams away from surfaces that cause reflections. As a result, it delivers very good broadband performance for both vocal and musical applications working well for both traditional and contemporary services.
Laidman specified a pair of Qflex 40 arrays, each loaded with eight 4-inch LF drivers, sixteen 3-inch MF drivers, and sixteen 1-inch HF drivers, and each just under 7 feet high, while the width and depth are approximately 6 inches, making them easy to “hide”within the existing structure of the church.
“Fortunately, there were two pillars located to the left and right of the new altar location, which Kodet used to house the Qflex speakers,” explains Greg Wagner, president of Midco A/V. “The arrays were then concealed by magnetically attached grills that were colored to match the pillars, making the system virtually invisible.”
“One of the reasons the Qflex system is ideal for this space is because it can be digitally steered, minimizing the acoustical issues that can occur because of the reflective surfaces in the room,” adds Wagner. “After the system was installed, Tannoy sent an engineer to the site to fully optimize the system. It was dialed in perfectly.”