Over 112 years ago, in the humble village of Thalachira, Kerala, a small group of 13 families came together to establish the Salem Mar Thoma Church, which began modestly in the confines of a simple palm-thatched shed. Through the passage of time, the church has grown and evolved remarkably, with the parish now being home to a strong and close-knit congregation of over 302 families. Standing tall as a pillar of the Christian community for over a century, the church is a landmark for believers to congregate in praise and worship of the almighty.
In recent times, this spiritual experience has only been elevated several-fold thanks to a brand-new audio system designed and integrated by specialist solution providers M/s Zacs and Phil, which offers a truly immersive spiritual experience for the faithful.
“Designing and installing the audio system at the Salem Mar Thomas Church was a truly enriching experience for our team,” says Manu P, Business Manager at Zacs and Phil. “The client had previously toured some of venues where we had designed and commissioned the entire audio solution, and they were quite impressed with quality of the sound experience,” he explains. “Working on this project, our goal, as always, was to enhance the spiritual experience by weaving in a comprehensive coverage of crystal-clear sound, and guarantee a captivating fusion of musical performances and inspiring sermons.”
According to him, the first step was a thorough analysis of the church space. Expectedly, it was noticed that the relatively large church hall did not pose too many challenges in terms of its inherent acoustic character; the large 50-member choir’s seating arrangement was set in front of the altar and microphones positioned directly in front of where the speakers would ideally be placed, which posed a major challenge to overcome. Taking this factor into consideration, team Zacs and Phil conducted a sound simulation using EASE, the industry-standard software for sound and acoustics, which enabled them to refine the speaker specifications before proceeding with the system design and installation.
“Conducting the simulation allowed us a better understanding of the kind of loudspeaker system that we’d need to meet the space’s requirements of achieving a truly immersive soundscape,” Manu further explains.
That they had to work with quite a modest budget, they tried to curate a truly cohesive system comprising high-quality audio set-up that not only fit the budget, but also assured even coverage along with amazing clarity and seamless frequency response.
The new audio reinforcement essentially comprised Turbosound’s new NuQ Series and IP Series loudspeakers that are powered by Behringer amplifiers, and controlled through the MGP analog mixing console from Yamaha along with signal processing from Marani.
Team Zacs and Phil have strategically deployed a total of six units of the Turbosound NuQ102 loudspeakers at key locations within the church’s main hall, along with two units of the Turbosound iNSPIRE iP82 speakers for the balcony area, and three units of the EUROLIVE B212D loudspeakers from Behringer to act as the monitoring solution for the choir.
“This came naturally to us, considering the fact that both models are full-range, capable of delivering a frequency range of 50 Hz to 20 kHz (-10 dB), and have a nominal dispersion of 100° horizontal and 60° vertical at -6 dB points, Manu elaborates the key elements of the deployment. The team extensively used the EASE software to not just access precise positioning of each loudspeaker for optimum performance but also tweak individual loudspeaker settings so that the congregation as well as the preacher and the choir members get to enjoy a cohesive and uniform sound experience with enhanced speech intelligibility and impactful music reproduction.
The loudspeakers are powered through three units of the KM 1700 power amplifiers from Behringer with a single unit of the PRO MX882 V2 8-Channel Splitter/Mixer from Behringer deployed for signal routing and a single unit of the Marani 260P+ digital speaker management system to ensure seamless signal processing; while a single unit of the MGP32X analog mixing console from Yamaha affords complete control to tailor the quality of sound reproduction.
Furthermore, the team have also made an assortment of world-class microphones from industry-leading brands like Sennheiser, Audio-Technica and AKG available for the preacher as well as the choir members to ensure that there’s no compromise whatsoever in terms of quality within the signal chain.
The church authorities were understandably happy with the Zac and Phil team for the dedication and attention to detail. “We’re grateful to the entire team of Zacs and Phils who have designed and installed such a wonderful sound system at our church and that too in such an accurate and timely manner,” they commended. “Their work truly reveals a high level of professional experience and competence; and we’re profoundly pleased with the beautiful, clear, and harmonious sound experience at our church!”