Houses of worship have been striving towards upgrading their audio solutions to ensure the message is better delivered to the congregation. A perfect example of this upgrade is in Leiden, the Netherlands, where a 14th Century church recently installed 36 self-powered loudspeakers an AVB audio networking from Meyer Sound.

The Pieterskerk in Lieden was built more than 500 years before the invention of the PA system, although its new Meyer Sound system should allow it to hold events that it was previously unable to. That’s especially useful given that the church has recently been repurposed into a community events centre.

“I know Meyer Sound is always looking to develop long-term relationships by providing the highest quality products and support,” says Frieke Hurkmans, managing director of Pieterskerk Leiden. “At Pieterskerk Leiden we take a similar approach in striving for excellence, which means we take corporate social responsibility seriously both in restoration of our historic structure and in our business practices. This shared philosophy makes Meyer Sound the perfect partner for upgrading our audio capabilities.”

The installation was not without its challenges, however. The acoustical challenges for effective sound reinforcement presented a major obstacle in the installation – a situation compounded by the need for exceptional flexibility in reconfiguring the system for various events. Meyer Sound’s Dutch distributor, Audio Electronics Mattijsen (AEM), managed to work around the challenges, however.

“Large, reverberant rooms are always a challenge, especially if you want the high levels and excellent speech intelligibility specified by Pieterskerk,” says Eric Mattijsen, managing director at AEM. “Also, they have five different set-up configurations for the space, which means five different sound source locations. The best solution by far was the CAL™ beam steering loudspeaker working with an instantly reconfigurable distributed system of small, self-powered loudspeakers.”

The completed installation features a CAL 32 column array loudspeaker with advanced digital beam steering, two UPM-1P and two UPJunior loudspeakers, plus 12 UPJunior-XP and 20 UPM-1XP IntelligentDC loudspeakers. A Galileo Galaxy network platform will be programmed by AEM to handle signal processing and matrixing for the various system configurations.

“The venue has been setting up a mobile system for every event, which is time-consuming and costly for labor,” notes Eric. “With the new Meyer Sound system, they can set up the optimum system configuration with the touch of a button on a touchscreen and it will be ready to go, tailor-made for the occasion.”

The Pieterskerk project was first announced at ISE in Amsterdam by Frieke and Eric along with Meyer Sound co-founders John and Helen Meyer.

Situated in the heart of Leiden, about 35 km southwest of Amsterdam, Pieterskerk was built over a period of 180 years beginning in 1390. A Dutch national heritage site, it was deconsecrated in 1974 and is now operated by a non-profit foundation.

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