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Christmas Brings M1D Solution to Norwegian Church

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"It's a very hi-fi sounding system, with smooth response everywhere. Before, there were sections where you couldn't hear much."

- Torgeir Andersen, Youth Minister

In medieval times, pilgrims heading to Nidaros Cathedral passed through the town of Lommedalen, which sits nestled in a Norwegian valley only 15 kilometers from central Oslo. In many ways, the town appears unchanged by the passage of time until you step inside the Lommedalen Church, where the town's 3,000 residents worship. In contrast to the old-style charm of the town, the church resides decidedly in the 21st century as the result of the installation of a new Meyer Sound M1D ultra-compact curvilinear array loudspeaker system.

Built about a decade ago, the church serves as a spiritual and cultural center for the town. Its semi-live acoustics have proven ideal for both traditionally styled worship services and non-amplified events such as classical music concerts. However, as younger members brought more amplified music sensibilities from their culture into the church, the shortcomings of the building's original sound system became glaringly apparent. Several upgrade proposals had been considered in recent years, but the final solution proved elusive until a touring Christmas concert visited the church late in 2004.

"The concert was by a group of contemporary Christian musicians who brought in their own production," says Trond Kristoffersen of AVAB-CAC, a diversified AV contracting, rental, and distribution firm. "Their sound came from a system of Meyer Sound M1D arrays flown from the trusses. After that night, the debate about the selection of new loudspeakers ended. The solution was clear to all.

"I realized from the outset that a line array solution had advantages for this church," Kristoffersen continues, "but most line arrays were either physically too large, which raised visual objections, or beyond the somewhat limited, original budget. Although an M1D system also was outside that budget, when the people in charge of the money heard the sound at the Christmas show, the budget was quickly adjusted to allow the M1D solution."

Kristoffersen set aside his previous proposals and applied Meyer Sound's MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction program to the design process for a permanent M1D system. As now installed, seven M1D units and one M1D-Sub ultra-compact subwoofer are flown in each of the two main arrays. To blend discreetly with the light-infused architecture, the loudspeakers were ordered with a custom finish matching the ceiling's white wood. The wiring and connectors also were painted to match. Although the flown system provides ample full-range reinforcement for the traditional services, extra bass for the amplified "youth culture" services is supplied by a pair of USW-1P compact subwoofers placed in front of the stage.

Torgeir Andersen, the church's youth minister, had struggled for years with weak, inconsistent sound in the church. Now, Andersen warmly welcomed the new system. "The old system was really only suited for voice," he says, 'and it was terrible when you tried to use it for music. For singing in front of a band, it just didn't respond at all."

Andersen adds that the new M1D arrays also provide more uniform coverage of the wide, nearly square, main sanctuary seating area. "It's a very hi-fi sounding system, with smooth response everywhere. Before, there were sections where you couldn't hear much."

The church is designed with a retractable rear wall, joining the main 350-seat sanctuary with a second hall to boost the total seating capacity to 700. Kristoffersen was able to replace one of the two delay zones from the previous system by configuring the M1D arrays into top and bottom sections, each with separate feeds and equalization, to cover the main sanctuary and rear seating area.

Along with the new M1D system, the installation included a Yamaha DM2000 mixing console for concerts and youth services, plus a Yamaha 01V96 for the more limited requirements of traditional services.

For Andersen, the new system has enhanced the value of the church facility beyond its membership to the entire Lommedalen community. "A number of local bands, orchestras and choirs use our building as a town cultural center. We already had a recording studio and a video editing studio we could offer them. Now we have a professional PA system that really works for us, and that is helping us build a better relationship with everybody in the town."

As the nation's largest sound rental firm and one of Meyer Sound's two primary dealers in Norway, AVAB-CAC supplies Meyer Sound line arrays for major tours and events throughout Scandinavia, in addition to its installation services. The company also distributes products from Midas, DiGiCo, Lab Gruppen, and Klark-Teknik, as well as top brands in the production staging and lighting markets.

December, 2005

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