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Chas Constructionline

Loreto College Chapel

St Alban's, Hertfordshire

Clarity was appointed by the Loreto College in St. Alban’s to install a sound system and an induction loop for the hearing impaired, into its chapel. The impressive high vaulted chapel was at the final stage of restoration when Clarity’s work began. Our challenge and one we relished, was how to sympathetically install modern day technology into a building whose architectural design is centuries old.

Although we were up against a seemingly impossible deadline we managed to lay speaker cables and the specialist flat copper cables for the induction hearing loop, test and protect the installation, before the chapel’s carpet was fitted. Having completed this initial work we were then able to commence the full equipment installation on a more rational timescale.

Sound System:-

In buildings of this type, high ceilings, hard surfaces and irregular shape demand a thorough understanding of acoustics to effectively convey high quality sound (speech and music) to all parts of the floor plan without suffering reverberation or feedback. To avoid these very common traps we selected the JBL CBT line array and base extension loudspeakers with controlled dispersion characteristics to reduce reverberation.  The speakers were discreetly and thoughtfully positioned at a high level to achieve the best sound coverage while minimising the chance of feedback. The other advantage offered by these units is that their slender shape and colour blend subtly with the building’s aesthetics.

A key contributor to the excellent sound we achieved was down to the inclusion of a DBX Driverack unit which is a high quality digital control signal processor (DSP). This unit is fully programmable to;

  • compensate for the vagaries of the environment,
  • enhance sound quality through features such as graphic equalization,
  • suppress feedback to permit higher gain settings on cable and radio microphones,
  • protect against the possibility of over-driving the sound system using a limiter.

Clarity’s engineer programmed the DSP for optimal performance during the final commissioning of the sound system. The beauty of a fully programmable system is that if the requirements, environment or equipment ever change, the DSP is simply reprogrammed to suit.

The rest of the sound system consists of a; Crown high power amplifier matched to the JBL loudspeakers, Rane MLM82S mixer with 8 independent volume controls, each clearly labelled as to its function, Denon instant start CD player. four-way Sennheiser handheld radio microphone system, complete with antenna distribution and a connection panel with inputs for a laptop, smart-phone/MP3 player and a cabled microphone.

All of the electronics together with the induction loop apparatus are assembled in a rack housed in a neat wooden cabinet veneered to match the chapel’s own wooden panelling.

Induction Loop System for the Hearing Impaired:-

Clarity used Ampetronic’s IDL300 loop amplifier, Ampetronic being one of the world’s leading suppliers of this type of equipment.  The amplifier was connected to the sound system and the flat copper cables that we had previously installed under the chapel’s carpet.