Article excerpt courtesy of Lighting&Sound International. March 2012 issue. Article by Phil Ward
London’s Victorian infrastructure includes several pew-and-brew venues: Phil Ward appraises the new audio installation at Islington’s Union Chapel . . .
Venue manager Pete Stapleton outlines the relationship between the gigs and the church. “Any profit from the revenue generated from gigs is gift-aided towards the charitable objectives of the building,” he says, “including restoration and the homeless projects. The church has its own revenue streams, too, but it’s all integral to the overall functions that the building can provide. We’re all singing from the same . . .”
And with that metaphor out of the way, attention turns to the new FOH system supplied by Surrey based HD Pro Audio, the start-up founded by Andy Huffer some four years ago. The chapel is now addressed by a mainstay brand from the HD Pro catalogue: L-ACOUSTICS, from the very top drawer of French electro-acoustic acumen.
The main left and right array is made up of eight KARAi enclosures and four SB18i subs, the KARA boxes powered by two LA8 amplifier controllers and the subs by an LA4. KARAi is the installation version of L-ACOUSTICS’ KARA modular line source system, with a bandwidth of 55Hz to 20kHz extended down to 32Hz thanks to the SB18is. Each one is a 2-way, bi-amplified design containing two 8” neodymium LF drivers in an enclosure described as “bass reflex tuned”, while the HF section has a 3” neodymium diaphragm driver feeding a proprietary DOSC waveguide. Here at Union Chapel, the elements have been groundstacked. “The original brief was for something small and flown,” Huffer says, “but initial findings revealed that a flown line array excited the room too much. By groundstacking we’re pointing and shooting directly to heads at a relatively low level, as opposed to shooting into a void. We’re also keeping to a small footprint on stage. The key to a lot of church interiors is to be very directional and avoid all of the many reflective surfaces. That’s why the fills are so important too.”
There are two 12XTi coaxial cabinets as outfills and three 8XTi versions from the same range as front fills, all powered by a single LA4. One more LA4 powers the balcony coverage: two 12XTis and two 8XTis for the sides and a further 12XTi for the rear. “We tested a couple of systems,” Stapleton says. “At this level of pro audio it comes down to subtle criteria, not the least of which was the service and guidance provided by HD Pro Audio. These boxes look great, too . . .”