Hitting the Right Note
Installing an AV system that meets the livelier performance needs of Ashington Parish Church
"It’s such a smooth, yet super clear sounding system that is practically invisible and so all the comments have been really encouraging. Even the Worship Leader has said it is a system worthy of his new acoustic guitar"
Renovated just over ten years ago, Ashington Parish Church near Pulborough hosts an array of events, from prayer evenings to live concerts and has been doing everything it can to keep the congregation’s spirits high during the uncertain lockdown period.
Audio system installations in churches have developed significantly in recent years in a way that has allowed a contemporary style of worship. Most churches might consider a PA system with only the preaching in mind, but for performances and worship bands, a professional AV installation should be seen as a necessity to gain the rich sound that only a church can provide.
As church leaders figure out how to serve, connect, and inspire their members, it’s key for industry experts to help guide them to create successful online and in-person worship services. AV professionals need to guide church leaders when considering how both spaces and AV equipment will be used differently, helping them to define suitable and flexible solutions. As the needs of Ashington Parish Church have grown of the years, for both live and online services, a new audio installation was needed as the original speakers in the ceiling beams and down the aisle often resulted in ‘dead zones’ and delay issues during performances.
“While it did mean we had a better signal to noise ratio, those speakers just couldn’t reproduce the sound we wanted,” explains Simon Barrett, Sound Engineer for Ashington Church. “I even had to bring in a sub from time to time just to balance everything out, which wasn’t ideal.”
Barrett decided he needed something more fit for purpose. Working with TW AUDiO UK, Flipside Soundsystem was ultimately chosen to organise a more suitable solution for the Ashington congregation. Taking into account the narrow dispersion requirements, the team designed a solution that comprised two T20is, a B30i, a C5 and an M8i.
“It’s a friendly layout for a church,” says Flipside Managing Director, James Cooper. “It’s not a particularly reverberant room and with the audience capacity being around 300, you don’t need anything massive to fill up that type of space.”
Houses of worship often create a unique set of challenges when it comes to integrating good quality audiovisual systems. Traditional and historic buildings usually have architectural designs that are far from ideal in terms of both sightlines and acoustics. Subsequently, an architectural consultant was involved in a series of meetings before deciding on the fixing points and overall treatment of Ashington Church.
“By working with the architect, we could really figure out the best way forward as there were already cable routes under the floor from the past renovation they had done and so, it was all about finding the least intrusive way to get all of the runs up to the locations,” Cooper recalls.
A covered truss strapped to the spanning oak beam was also installed, providing a slick look to the aesthetic as well as an ease of installation for the T20i speakers. “That method of fixing was great as we left no permanent damage to the building,” Cooper adds. “It gave us a nice, safe and secure mounting of the T20is, and has ultimately given us structure for any future installations they might want to add. Simon has already mounted a couple of paddles and shotgun mics for recordings, which give it a nice bit of infrastructure to work with.”
For the amplification set up, Flipside installed the Powersoft Quattrocanali and a Duecanali ranges which Barrett connected to a remote on-off switch that will ultimately come in handy during live performances. “I’m really looking forward to listening to a full band on this system as it’s great to have a set up that I know will work and that I can adjust if I need to. I’ve been learning how to use the Powersoft system and I’m already enjoying the flexibility, so I can adjust things like the tops to sub-ratio, in terms of level, if and when I need to.”
As well as approving the overall sound quality, Barrett also appreciated Flipside’s hands-on approach during the installation process. “The team said they would come and do an audio demo of the system, free of charge, which wasn’t part of our original agreement, so I really liked that extra level of support. They also ran some extra cables for me such as a DMX as well as a couple of mic and Ethernet cables and terminated the wireless ones, as they had time to spare. That was really kind of them, and it certainly helped the process.”
The result has seen positive feedback from the church congregation and visitors. “It’s such a smooth, yet super clear sounding system that is practically invisible and so all the comments have been really encouraging,” Barrett concludes. “Even the Worship Leader has said it is a system worthy of his new acoustic guitar and I want someone to turn up with a Moog synth!”
Main FOH System
- 2 x TW Audio T20i
- 1 x TW Audio B30i
- 1 x TW Audio C5
- 1 x TW Audio M8i
- 1 x Powersoft Quattrocanali 4804 DSP+Dante
- 1 x Powersoft Duecanali 1604 DSP+Dante