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Meyer Sound System Disappears into Glorious Church
The St. Michael's Church in Munich, Germany, is the largest Renaissance church in Europe, and also the second largest in the world built with barrel-vault architecture — eclipsed only by St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. With its 20-meter dome soaring over the lofty choir vaults and gilded side altars, St. Michaels stands as an impressive and enduring example of early 17th century baroque architecture.
Yet St. Michael's is not a museum focused solely on the glories of the past. The church hosts a full schedule of worship services and other events, and now relies on a surprisingly powerful – though virtually invisible — self-powered Meyer Sound loudspeaker system to carry its timeless message into the 21st century.
Worship services in our current era, regardless of denomination or tradition, are increasingly integrating use of amplified music, drama and video presentations. High-quality sound is essential for bringing these elements into the worship experience successfully, but historic architecture and reverberant acoustics often pose significant difficulties when designing systems for centuries-old worship spaces. Certainly this was the case at St. Michael's, where the elaborate interior decorations of the baroque era made it particularly difficult to integrate sleek, modern loudspeaker systems. But this was a challenge gladly accepted by Michael Pohl of Munich-based Advanced Audio Systems GmbH.
"We have been working with Meyer Sound for a number of years," says Pohl, "and to this date we have found no discrepancies between what is stated in the published data on Meyer products and the actual performance in the field. Rather, we usually find our expectations are exceeded, and that was crucially important on this installation."
Pohl's challenge was to design a system that delivered high intelligibility for spoken word presentations as well as wide-range response for musical performances and pre-recorded playbacks. Moreover, the system had to be virtually invisible as installed.
Pohl met the challenge with a system based around Meyer Sound's remarkable MM-4 Miniature Wide-Range loudspeaker, a 4 x 4 inch (10 x 10 cm) cube that could be tucked away discreetly into any convenient corner. To further hide the MM-4s, each cabinet was custom painted at the factory to match the wall surfaces inside St. Michael's.
In a few areas of the church, where the architecture allowed and where visual impact was less critical, Pohl specified the UPM-1P Ultra-compact Wide Coverage loudspeaker.
"In addition to the exceptionally high sound quality, we find that Meyer Sound offers particular advantages in consistency across the entire product line, making it easier to configure systems that maintain a constant acoustical characteristic throughout a given space. We found this to be true in St. Michael's with the MM-4 and the UPM-1P, but at other times we have experienced this with the UPAs and the MSL-4s as well."
Pohl also noted the singular benefits of having a complete, integrated approach to system design and measurement, which includes Meyer Sound's MAPP Online multipurpose acoustical prediction program and the SIM System II FFT Analyzer. "It's an all-around, complete package approach that we know from the outset will result in complete customer satisfaction," concludes Pohl.