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Chromatica Provides Sensitive Meyer Sound Solution For Hungarian Church
Votive Church in Szeged, southern Hungary, was constructed between 1913 and 1930. With towers measuring 81 meters high, the inside dimensions of the nave are 66 meters long by 15.5 meters wide inside and 20.7 meters high. The cavernous dimensions made the church a challenging space in which to install a loudspeaker system when it was decided one was needed. But with careful design and the choice of a Meyer Sound loudspeaker system, Chromatica Ltd., of Budapest, Hungary, was able to overcome the size and other hurdles.
Prior to design, acoustical consultants Andor T. Fürjes and István Törzsök, also based in Budapest, conducted acoustical measurements and a survey to help formulate the best overall strategy. The average reverberation time of the interior was quite long: slightly over seven seconds. Because of this and the shape of church – its length and the arches at its sides - a distributed system approach was chosen.
The original design called for 10 loudspeakers in the nave, two in the transept, and several more in the side arches and other areas. However, budgetary constraints resulted in system implementation being broken into two phases. In the first phase, six UPM-2P ultra-compact narrow coverage loudspeakers were installed in the nave to provide essential coverage and speech intelligibility. The next phase, to be completed later in 2005, will see the rest of the complete system installed.
Lajos Kondé, the church's priest, was key in the process. Kondé ordered the design and installation and was integral in defining the functionality and performance the system needed to provide. Imre Makkay, managing director of Chromatica, was in charge of the installation, with Meyer Sound's Károly Molnár contributing additional input to the design and fine-tuning of the system.
The primary demand on the system was for speech reinforcement, as the church rarely plays background music, except on major holidays such as Christmas and Easter. There are, however, a variety of speech applications. Normally, the priest or priests stand at the sanctuary in front of the audience. Here, there are three mic positions: one at the sanctuary; one at the pulpit; one at the altar and podium. At other events, the priests may walk around the church using a lavaliere mic, and the Easter service includes a parade around the outside of the church that also has to be heard inside. And, of course, the chorister and the choir need to be amplified by the system.
The UPM-2Ps were deemed the ideal choice because of their tight coverage pattern, and, by using the Meyer Sound MAPP Online acoustical prediction program, designers at Chromatica were able to determine and visualize the coverage that would be provided by the system.
The building is a national monument, making aesthetics as important as sound quality, so each loudspeaker cabinet was custom-painted grey to match the walls and make them as unobtrusive as possible. The system design also had to complement the church without causing damage to its interior during installation.
This meant that care had to be taken with mounting the loudspeakers on the walls. To accommodate that prerequisite, a wall mount was designed that rotates both horizontally and vertically, can hold the weight of the UPM-2P for years in the position it has been set, and is as inconspicuous as possible.
The Votive Church posed a strong challenge to Chromatica, but Makkay says the results reflect all the effort that was put in. "We've managed to achieve good coverage with a very discreet system," he reports. "The church is very happy and is looking forward to the next stage of installation."