Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, located in Portland, Oregon, recently replaced their aging audio system with a fully automated system that includes Tannoy’s innovative QFlex array. When they did, they did they had two goals. One was to provide clear natural sounding reinforcement throughout the entire 1000-seat sanctuary and the other was to ensure the system was as user-friendly as possible.
“Priest proof, I call it,” says Head Sexton, Kimberly Sherwood; “a very self-sufficient system.”
Portland, Oregon based A/V systems integration contractor Delta AV, was tapped to design and install the new system. In his nearly 33 years in pro audio, senior consultant/design engineer and company founder, Steve Jellerson has roughly 1000 church installs under his belt.
He describes Tannoy as one of Delta A/V’s ‘go to’ solutions for a variety of applications.
The Trinity design/build was Jellerson’s first experience with Tannoy’s QFlex. Although he had not used it before he was confident it was the product for the job.
“Tannoy builds product that works and they make them application appropriate. If it didn’t work, we’d have pulled it out at our own expense and started over,” he adds.
In all, the project took a year and a half to complete, Sherwood says, including fundraising, design and build. She worked closely with Jellerson and Delta AV project manager, Michael Sanders, on the project.
While providing a system that was easy to operate was a key component of the design/build, intelligible reinforcement of speech was the number one criteria. To serve Trinity’s needs, Delta AV’s design called for one QFlex 40 to be installed dead center on the sanctuary’s front arch, with the bottom of the array approximately 28 feet in the air.
Control of the system is managed exclusively via a wireless AMX touch screen. The system also incorporates Biamp DSP and Crown amps driving a pair of Tannoy i9s mounted behind pillars to the left and right of the altar. “We didn’t use any of the DSP filters in the Biamp for the main array, we just used the QFlex filters,” Jellerson says.
The i9s are used as choir monitors, but primarily for playback of recordings of the 60-person ensemble’s rehearsals and concerts.
“I hadn’t heard the i9s before we installed them and I was pleasantly surprised that they sounded good with full range music. I chose them because of their coverage pattern and their narrow vertical. They have to throw quite a ways to the choir.”
Unfortunately the previous system never provided smooth coverage front to back. “That’s where the QFlex stands out,” Jellerson says. “It’s a long seating area, approximately 75 feet, and it stays within a dB from front to back.”
Once the system was installed the church took a novel approach to tuning the system. “They stopped the Sunday service with a full house and had people on all seven microphones speak one at a time,” Jellerson says. “They told everyone to stay seated unless they could hear perfectly. We went through every microphone and we didn’t move on until we had everything the way they wanted it and everyone standing – it was terrific.”
The result speaks for itself. “It’s worked out so well. The choir had never been able to hear themselves sing before. Now they can record and hear how they sound and that is just a joy for them. And the church is very happy with the main speakers. I’m amazed at how small they are and how much power they have.”