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Tannoy VLS Series Loudspeakers Deliver Clarity At Historic Royal Oak Church

Overcoming acoustical challenges of a sanctuary built in 1923

Established in 1776, Royal Oak Presbyterian Church in Marion, VA, is one of the oldest congregations in the United States.

Its rich history and the traditions associated with it are an integral part of their worship, says Pastor Alan Gray, but he adds: “We’re trying to merge our traditional services with new expressions of worship that are meaningful for the intergenerational nature of our congregation.”

To meet that requirement, audio designer/installer K.D. Forsha of Bristol, TN, specified a a new sound reinforcement center for the 450-capacity sanctuary (built in 1923) that is headed by new Tannoy VLS passive column loudspeaker arrays and Tannoy VS 10BP subwoofers.

Even with the sanctuary’s 30-foot high peaked ceilings, plaster walls and a large amount of beautiful—but reflective—custom woodwork, Forsha believed the VLS passive column arrays, which incorporate transducer technology adapted from Tannoy’s QFlex arrays and Focussed Asymmetrical Shaping Technology (FAST), would fit Royal Oak’s needs and budget.

Specifically, Forsha deployed four Tannoy VLS 15s – two to cover the balcony and two to cover the main floor – and mounted a pair of VS 10BP subwoofers discreetly on steps leading up to the pulpit for LF support throughout.

“The VS 10BPs can sit sideways or long-ways, so I could mount them where they wouldn’t be in anybody’s way visually or physically,” he says.

The compact profile of the VLS 15s and their ability to offer focused coverage in each of the upper and lower sanctuary zones also played into his choice.

“Like the VS 10s, they can fit in a lot of places and they completely blend in with the wood-stained posts they’re mounted on. Also, the FOH position is in the balcony, so it was important the two zones equaled out, but I was able to use the free EASE Focus software Tannoy had on their website, which is very sophisticated, to help determine ideal locations for the VLS 15s.

“The only acoustic treatment they have is what I call ‘standard, southern church acoustic treatment’—people,” he adds. “Plus, the system needed very little EQ and I don’t have any issues with open mics. The preacher can actually walk right by them with his headset microphone on and we just don’t have a problem.”


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