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St George's Church, Beckenham sound system upgrade

RG Jones’ dedicated installation department completed a modern upgrade to a heritage sound system installed at St George’s Church, Beckenham, South London.

  • St George's Church, Beckenham sound system upgrade

The original system was installed by RG Jones in December 1991 and was still working to this day. It comprised of “good old faithfuls” of its day - system components (analogue mixers, amplifiers, custom column loudspeakers) that we installed to great success in over 200 churches and Cathedrals during the 80s and 90s. The church wanted to take advantage of the modern day advances in sound system technology that we are now installing so asked us to provide a design for an upgrade that utilised the latest technology but kept the system simple to use.

The new system design comprises a complete replacement of the front end equipment and replacement of all loudspeakers, radio mics and microphone sockets. A BSS Audio BLU-100 Soundweb London Digital Signal Processor (DSP) with BLU-BIB and BOB input and output expanders were used to take the microphone and line inputs and feed the system outputs to the Lab Gruppen C20:8X and E Series amplifiers. The DSP unit enables complete control of the audio system via computer software; our engineers use this software to set up the EQ, delay and dynamic processing for the microphones and loudspeakers.

The church control of the microphone and playback levels is provided on an iPad using a dedicated WiFi connection to the BSS DSP unit. A custom control interface was designed for the iPad using the BSS Audio Motion Control App. This provides the church with wireless control of the sound system from any position in the church, something that is very useful for the varied services that take place there.

A new set of Sennheiser 300 series G3 radio mics was implemented. The 300 series belt packs have a connection for a remote mute switch that can be clipped to the end of a sleeve to enable the clergy to mute their microphones easily as the main belt packs are hidden under their vestments. Antenna distribution and remote antenna system ensured full RF coverage around the church.

During the 80s and 90s RG Jones had an in-house carpenter and loudspeaker builder (fondly known as “John Chip”). The 105HF and 107HF column loudspeakers and wooden rack cabinets were built and installed in many venues. St George’s Beckenham had six of the larger 107HF and various other small loudspeakers serving ancillary areas. The upgrade replaced these with eight Tannoy VLS15 columns for the nave and transepts and eight Tannoy AMS 5DC for the ancillary areas, as well as two for the Lady Chapel, two for the choir, two for the high altar and one in each of the vestry and narthex. The main nave system was supplemented by a Tannoy VSX 8.2BP subwoofer to provide low frequency extension to the sound.

The original RG Jones-built rack cabinet was re-used to house the new equipment. A Canford mains power distribution unit with powercon outlets provides a safe method of switching on and off the complete equipment rack. Playback of music on multi-format media devices is achieved using a Denon DN-300ZB with CD/USB/AUX/Bluetooth and SD card playback and also an AM/FM radio. The existing induction loop amplifiers were re-used with audio fed from the new DSP units.

The complete system was installed in five days, starting on a Monday to be ready for the following Sundays morning service. The system was up and running by Thursday night and was commissioned and demonstrated on the Friday ready for use on the Sunday.

We are continually undertaking these upgrades to our heritage sound systems all around the country, please get in touch if you wish to benefit from the latest modern sound system technology.

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