Reference overview

Palma Cathedral, Mallorca (Spain)

Less speakers, higher speech intelligibility

The cathedral of Santa Maria in Palma de Mallorca is one of the city’s most popular sights. The 700 year old bishop’s church is considered to be one of the most important gothic buildings, while also offering some impressive dimensions: the main nave alone is 75.5 m long, 19.5 m wide and 44 m high. Accordingly, the previous sound system required 24 individual loudspeakers.

In 2016, the cathedral was equipped with a new, modern sound system by Mallorcan installation company Massot Audio Video Professional and Neotecnica, the Fohhn distributor for Spain. A system was required which could guarantee even sound coverage of the main nave as well as increased levels of speech intelligibility. Following an acoustic test and an EASE simulation, Neotecnica eventually decided on Focus systems with Fohhn Beam Steering technology: the vertical beam characteristics of these line source systems can be electronically controlled in real time using software. The vertical beam width can be precisely set between -40° and +40° and the inclination angle between 0° and 90°.

In the end, just four LFI-220 systems were needed to cover the entire main nave and dispense with the 24 old loudspeakers. Visually, the 2.2 m long line source systems integrated seamlessly into the historic church. They offer high sound pressure levels and constant coverage over a distance of 50 m. Moreover, speech intelligibility throughout the entire publicly accessible area could be substantially improved. Sound level measurement and analysis produced a new average STI value of 0.7 (previously 0.52) and a maximum sound pressure level difference of only 1.8 dB (85.8 dB at the very front seats and 84 dB at the very back).

The four LFI-220 systems are also integrated into the Fohhn-Net control network. Using a control panel and stored presets, their settings can be adjusted at the touch of a button to suit different situations (e.g. larger visitor numbers) or requirements (e.g. concerts or church services).

We congratulate Neotecnica and Massot Audio Video Professional on this magnificent installation.

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