Beam Steering in world-famous Gedächtniskirche

The original Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche was built in 1890, but was badly damaged during a World War II bombing raid in 1943. A new church was built between 1959 and 1963 around the remaining ruins. Constructed from concrete, steel and glass, the main worship area of the new church buildings has an octagonal ground view. Measuring 35 metres across, with a 20 metre high ceiling, it can accommodate over 1000 worshippers.

Replacing the current 20-year old sound system in this vast, highly reflective environment was always going to prove a challenge. With the main worship area used for a range of activities, including jazz and gospel concerts, as well as for standard services, a system was required that could deliver both crystal clear speech intelligibility and excellent reproduction of a range of musical styles. The loudspeakers should provide excellent sound coverage while appearing unobtrusive to congregations and audiences.

Fohhn Focus line source systems with Beam Steering technology proved an obvious choice for this difficult acoustic environment. The speakers’ vertical sound inclination angle can be adjusted between -40°/+40° and the vertical beam width between 0°-90°. Configuration and adjustment can be carried out remotely using a laptop running Fohhn Audio Soft. Should the need arise for even more precise directivity, all Focus models are also equipped with Fohhn’s Two-Beam Technology that enables two separate beams to be generated from each system for simultaneously targeting different congregational areas. In such a challenging acoustic environment, this additionally helps to avoid unwanted reflections from the concrete and glass surroundings that could potentially compromise the overall sound quality.

General coverage of the main room area required just four line source speakers. Unobtrusively mounted between glass honeycomb panels behind the altar are two mighty 4,5 m LFI-450 systems. To the left and right of the altar are two LF-120 systems.

For concerts and events that need more extended bass frequency reproduction, six AS-22 compact subwoofers have been installed behind a curtain, which is opened as required. These have been configured as a Bass Array to guarantee an even sound dispersion in the low frequency range. The inclusion of four XT-10 full range systems provides the church with stage monitoring facilities for performances. These can be positioned and moved as required. For sound coverage at the organ, two LX-10 loudspeakers were selected.

Three Fohhn 4-channel, Class D, D-4.1200 DSP amplifiers have been installed to drive the passive loudspeakers systems. These can be networked, monitored and remotely controlled via Fohhn Audio Soft. Because the sound system will be used to reinforce a range of activities, the installation of an FR-10 Fohhn Net remote wall panel with programmable buttons has enabled various presets to be configured so that church staff can easily switch between different loudspeaker settings as required.

The installation team for this project was led by Rainer Zinke of Church & Sound, Berlin. Congratulations on this successful Installation!

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