Sheffield cathedral equipped with Fohhn audio system

Manufacturer's loudspeakers and amplifiers form backbone of new audio system at Cathedral Church of St. Marie.
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Fohhn loudspeakers and multi-channel amplifiers have formed the backbone of a new audio system at the Cathedral Church of St. Marie in Sheffield, UK.

The installation was designed and carried out by Wigwam Acoustics, with the loudspeakers and amplifiers supplied by Fohhn’s UK distributor Systems Workshop.

In addition to its regular programme of services, the cathedral hosts a number of concerts and recitals each year. A versatile loudspeaker system capable of delivering both high levels of speech intelligibility and dynamic reproduction of music in an acoustically demanding environment was therefore an essential requirement. 

The Wigwam team made several on-site demos before Fohhn Linea Series LX-100 loudspeakers were selected for their sound quality, directionality and appearance. The manufacturer’s two-way line source system features eight 4” neodymium drivers and a 1” compression driver with Fohhn Waveguide. Speaker adjustment is via an integrated crossover with Intelligent Protection Circuit (IPC) to guard against overload.

Reverberation proved a major acoustic challenge, so a distributed time aligned loudspeaker system was implemented to ensure even coverage and maximum clarity throughout. Four pairs of LX-100 loudspeakers were mounted to pillars covering the nave and side aisles, with two additional LX-100 systems targeting the north and south transepts. Two further LX-100 systems were installed for coverage of the chancel, while two Fohhn Arc-Series AT-09 loudspeakers were provided for the dais area. A pair of Fohhn D4.750 DSP-controlled Class D amplifiers were installed to control all the loudspeaker systems.

The loudspeakers were also required to visually blend with the interior, so Wigwam worked closely with the cathedral architect to carefully colour match all speakers and cabling to the building's interior. Custom brackets were also designed, enabling the systems to be mounted as closely as possible to the surface of each pillar.

Various control systems were implemented to enable simple operation of the audio system on a daily basis by cathedral staff – another important requirement.

“The feedback received from cathedral staff, musicians and congregation members about the sound quality of new audio system has been extremely positive,” said Tim Mortimer, installations manager at Wigwam Acoustics. “The cathedral artist has also commented on the visual impact to the building, stating that the loudspeakers and painted cabling have blended in excellently."

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