Edutainment & Infotainment

Modernization of the Sound Reinforcement System of Rellingen's Evangelical-Lutheran Church

The Object
Surmounted by a big lantern the baroque church of Rellingen with its characteristic octagonal design belongs to the most important buildings of late-baroque art in Schleswig-Holstein. Work on the new church which architect Cai Doses built in the centre of the municipality of Rellingen by order of the Danish king Frederic V began in 1754 and was finished in 1756.The church building is octagonal with massive columns. The nave is provided with galleries with seats all facing the pulpit. This was Cai Dose's attempt at enabling all visitors attending church services to hear and to see the pastor equally well while he was preaching.

Standards concerning the intelligibility of speech and the quality of sound musical performances are expected to provide are set much higher today than at Doses' times. Satisfactory solutions needed to be found to reconcile both requirements. Hence in 2014 the church council with Martje Kruse, the pastor of the time, pressed ahead with the project of a new sound reinforcement system which was eventually implemented in 2017 under the leadership of pastor Dr. Lennart Berndt. Before the sound reinforcement system was modernized the natural reverberance of the nave had significantly affected the intelligibility of speech. Until then the equipment available in the Rellingen church hadn't suppressed diffuse sound to any sufficient degree so that various parts of the church were not covered as required.

The Job
The sound reinforcement system was to be both variable and high-performance to deal with the great height of the octagonal church building and its 2 gallery levels. As the church is of historical interest and protected accordingly, improving the acoustics of the nave by means of structural changes was not an option. On the one hand the church council wanted excellent speech intelligibility on all seats notwithstanding the long reverberation and on the other hand today's sound quality standards to be met. For optimum sound enjoyment "sonorous reproduction" was requested, embracing CD, smartphone, and other audio data sources as well. Moreover directivity was to be ensured for sound reproduction from the front to make it all perfect. Owing to its particular acoustics the church is not only used for services but also for concerts and similar events which include e.g. the May Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. Hence the use of the building as an event location was supposed to benefit from modernization as well. Installation of the new equipment was requested to have been completed in time for the beginning of the pre-Christmas season 2017.

Frank Chilinski from Nordakustik, a specialist for room and church acoustics, came on board the project as an expert planner and consultant. Following a call for bids Amptown System Company won the contract for the project due to their long-time experience regarding the integration of high-quality sound reinforcement equipment for church buildings. Sales manager Andreas Klöhn and project manager Michael Stötzel supported the project from the bid until final inspection and acceptance.

The solution
Sound reinforcement
Intelligent planning ensured that the customer's exacting requirements were met: Possible locations for the loudspeakers and the media rack were identified in the course of consultations with the architect and the Landmark Preservation Authority, and the in-house electrician was involved in matters of cable routing and management. The existing speaker cabling with 100 volt outputs was no longer in tune with contemporary standards, the more so as the galleries had to be connected as well.

Therefore the in-house electrician laid the low-resistance cables the planner had demanded for all of the speakers and took the opportunity to renew the microphone cabling, too. For the delay lines on the galleries (galleries featuring 7 speakers each) and in the front area (altar monitoring with 2 speakers each on either side) ASC installed 16 small d&b 5 S speakers from the xS series which though unobtrusive are highly effective devices. The two d&B 24 C column speakers from the xC series with their slim design are an architectural reference to the columns of the building and a very attractive sight. Owing to the high directivity they provide the sound will carry to the farthest pews: while so far back the previous sound reinforcement situation would have called for the provision of delay lines, these are redundant now. To ensure operational safety the system power amplifiers used were custom-tuned to the speakers. Low-noise two-channel D6 power amps are used for the main speakers in front (d&b 24C and 5S) and four-channel 10D power amplifiers for the delay lines. To accommodate monument preservation requirements all of the speakers were selected so as to blend discreetly into their surroundings with the nave continuing to draw the principal attention. 

Microphone equipment and induction loop for persons with hearing aids
The radio microphone equipment and the induction loop for persons with hearing aids represented another challenge: while planning the radio microphone equipment the frequency spectrum was scanned to make sure that a faultlessly working radio link would still be available in the future based on what is referred to as the "digital dividend". Taking this prospect into account ASC used digital QLXD radio links by Shure exclusively. When selecting microphone capsules and headsets, high standards were applied to their performance regarding sound reproduction and speech intelligibility. Providing the induction loop with the Ampetronic ILD 1000 current amplifier which ensures optimum sound quality in the hearing aids, results in the requirements as per DIN 60118-4 to be met. Users may select presets on control panels distributed throughout the nave, EC-4B Ethernet controllers manufactured by BBS, in the vestry, in the sexton's box, and on the organ to vary the master volume within fixed limits: whenever the galleries are not in use it is possible to switch off the speaker circuits located there in order to optimize speech intelligibility in the main area. As a result it will be much easier and more convenient for any user to manipulate the system.

For the usual church activities manual volume adjustment is unnecessary: the settings of the automatic mixer and audio DSP as programmed by the team involving Michael Stötzel, Andreas Klöhn, and Frank Chilinski ensure optimal speech intelligibility with directional reference and are easy to operate. The automatic mixer opens those microphones only into which somebody is actually speaking. Microphones which are not being addressed are all but closed to prevent any undesirable noise from entering the system and thus reduce the intelligibility of speech. To avoid inappropriate handling, ASC and the customer agreed on those device controls to be disabled which should not be operated by laypersons (power amplifiers, radio receivers, automatic mixers) with the exception of the final control elements actually required (as e.g. the AUX input).

Questions? We’ll gladly assist.

  • Kirche-Rellingen-Slider-I_01.jpg

    The Rellingen Church

    View of the auditorium from the pulpit: the octagonal construction of the Rellingen church with its great height and 2 gallery levels requires a variable and high-performing sound reinforcement system.

  • Kirche-Rellingen-Slider-II_01.jpg

    The Rellingen Church

    ASC installed 16 small very effective d&b 5 S speakers from the xS series on the galleries (galleries with 7 speakers each) and in the front area (altar monitoring 2 speakers each on either side) as delay lines which will hardly be noticed at all.

  • Kirche-Rellingen-Slider-III_01.jpg

    The Rellingen Church

    One of the two d&b 24 C speakers from the xC series. Owing to its slim design the d&b 24 C column speaker matches the columns of the church building perfectly and will cover even the farthest pews owing to its potent directivity.

  • Kirche-Rellingen-Slider-IV_01.jpg

    The Rellingen Church

    Gallery with the small concealed direct-radiating d&b 5 S speaker. Seven speakers from the xS series were installed per gallery in all.

  • Kirche-Rellingen-Slider-V_01.jpg

    The Rellingen Church

    Here, too, a d&b 5 S speaker box "hid" on a column, hardly visible at all.

  • Kirche-Rellingen-Slider-VI_01.jpg

    The Rellingen Church

    View of the altar: for the altar monitoring two d&b 5 S speaker boxes each were fitted on either side.

  • Kirche-Rellingen-Slider-VII_01.jpg

    The Rellingen Church

    All of the speakers were selected to blend discreetly into their environment retreating behind the nave as the major attraction and thus meeting heritage conservation requirements.

  • Kirche-Rellingen-Slider-VIII_01.jpg

    The Rellingen Church

    Users may select presets on operating panels distributed throughout the nave, EC-4B Ethernet controllers manufactured by BSS, in the vestry, in the sexton's box, and on the organ and within fixed limits vary the master volume.

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