Cobra's IC Live captivates Hauptkirche St. Petri

Hamburg, Germany | May, 2011 - Hamburg's oldest parish church, Hauptkirche St. Petri, founded in the 11th century, has been equipped with a state of the art sound system designed and installed by COBRA sound light. The Hamburg based live event and system design company has fitted the oldest parish church of the Hanseatic city with Renkus-Heinz IC Live digitally beam steerable loudspeakers to achieve audiophile sound quality for church services, lectures, church music, concerts, readings and a wide variety of other cultural events.

Located in the heart of downtown on HamburgĀ“s major shopping hub, Mƶnckebergstrasse, the 1,033-seat Hauptkirche St. Petri is considered the 'city church' and opens its doors daily to offer on oasis of calm and a place to meet.

COBRA sound light engineer and project manager Hendrik Thode says the company's roots in live events is reflected in its approach to installations: "In live shows we always meet a new challenge. The fascinating job definition now is using new tools which offer new potential even in difficult locations for sound. We're not tied to any particular manufacturers and we consider everything that's out there. St. Petri was a big challenge as it has the typically difficult acoustical conditions of most churches."

Having already worked in St. Petri and understanding its characteristics, COBRA sound light organized a shoot-out between three leading loudspeaker brands including an IC Live system provided by Renkus-Heinz's German distributor atlantic audio.

"St. Petri church specifically wanted the loudspeakers not to intrude on the architecture," explained Thode. "This ruled out flying a system in the sanctuary, and demanded a digitally steerable system because of the dimensions of the large central nave - approximately 25 metres long and 24 metres high inside the central and the side aisles - and the long reverberation time of around 8 seconds. The system needed to deliver direct sound for perfect speech intelligibility to the rearmost pew."

The shoot-out proved IC Live loudspeakers to be the best solution, and COBRA sound light duly installed a system consisting of four Renkus-Heinz ICL-F speakers for the central nave, with a further ICL-F to the right and left in to the sanctuary chamber. "The biggest challenge," said Thode, "was the numerous pillars, about 1.20 metres in diameter, and the fact that the pulpit extended well into the central nave of the church and acoustically shadowed a large part of the central nave, which we resolved by installing a further ICL-F either side for delays.

"Because the advanced Renkus-Heinz beam steering technology allows us to generate up to four beams per column, the central nave is covered perfectly. Acoustic energy in the remaining room is minimized to the benefit of the overall experience. The IC Live system is small and tight, yet sounds very well-balanced. With its five 6.5" and three 1.5" driver units and a frequency range of 80 Hz - 20 kHz it's well suited for music performances."

The system is completed by a Yamaha LS9 digital mixer controlled by a simple user interface providing lay volunteers with just four presets to choose from depending on the type of service or event being held, and DPA headsets and Sennheiser wireless transmitters.

Martin Meier, sexton of Hauptkirche St. Petri Hamburg, enthused about the sound quality of the new system: "The COBRA sound light team did a very good job. When we heard the new system for the very first time, what shall I say - it was simply perfect. The fact that this large and complex room could be covered so perfectly with so little equipment left a lasting impression on me. All our church members only had a positive feedback for the music and speech sound of the IC Live system. Now everybody can hear every word without trying hard to understand - the result is precise and great-sounding."