Flipside Soundsystem has recently assisted Ashington Parish Church with a new audio installation, helping the parish modernise the building by delivering a balanced sound for energetic performances, streaming sessions and small communal services. The systems integrator installed a variety of speakers and amplifiers from TW AUDiO and Powersoft to cover the space.
Renovated ten to fifteen years ago with additions such as a new kitchen and underfloor heating, the church has been stripped back of some of the décor and furnishings from the stage area, allowing a low reverberation for a somewhat traditional space. “It’s a friendly layout for a church,” says Flipside Managing Director, James Cooper. “It’s not a particularly reverberant room and with the audience capacity being around 300, you don’t need anything massive to fill up that type of space.”
As the needs of the church have grown of the years, the new audio installation needed to be stable and produce a quality sound. “Our original set up included speakers up on the front and third beams and down the aisles, but there were some ‘dead zones’ in the top corners and there was no ability to time align the delay speakers,” says Simon Barrett, Sound Engineer for Ashington Church. “While it did mean we had a better signal to noise ratio, the speakers just couldn’t reproduce the sound we wanted, the dispersion was too wide and thus the sound was mushy – I even had to bring in a sub from time to time just to balance everything out, which wasn’t ideal.”
Barrett turned to Flipside to put together a permanent solution that would meet the needs of the church. Working with TW AUDiO UK, the team took into consideration the narrow dispersion requirements and the fact that Barrett wanted something relatively new on the market and went for a solution comprising two T20is, a B30i, a C5 and an M8i.
The usual challenges cropped up when working with an old Grade 2* listed building and so an architectural consultant was involved in a series of meetings before deciding on the fixing points and overall treatment of the space. “By working with the architect, we could really figure out the best way forward as there were already cable routes under the floor from the past renovation they had done and so, it was all about finding the least intrusive way to get all of the runs up to the locations,” Cooper recalls.
The Flipside team also installed a truss length strapped to the spanning oak beam, providing a slick look to the aesthetic as well as an easy site for the installation of the T20i speakers. “That method of fixing was great as we left no permanent damage to the building,” Cooper adds. “It gave us a nice, safe and secure mounting of the T20is and it’s given us structure for any future installations they might want to add – Simon has already mounted a couple of paddles and shotgun mics for recordings, which give it a nice bit of infrastructure to work with.”
For the amplification set up, Flipside took advantage of the TW AUDiO presets in the Powersoft Quattrocanali and a Duecanali amplifiers which Barrett connected to a remote on-off switch that will ultimately come in handy during live performances. “I’m really looking forward to listening to a full band on this system as it’s great to have a set up that I know will work and that I can adjust if I need to. I’ve been learning how to use the Powersoft system and I’m already enjoying the flexibility, so I can adjust things like the tops to sub-ratio, in terms of level, if and when I need to.”
As well as approving the overall sound quality, Barrett also appreciated Flipside’s hands-on approach during the installation process. “The team said they would come and do an audio demo of the system, free of charge, which wasn’t part of our original agreement, so I really liked that extra level of support. They also ran some extra cables for me such as a DMX as well as a couple of mic and Ethernet cables and terminated the wireless ones, as they had time to spare. That was really kind of them, and it certainly helped the process.”
The result has seen positive feedback from the church congregation and visitors. “It’s such a smooth, yet clear sounding system that is practically invisible and so all the comments have been really encouraging,” Barrett concludes. “Even the Worship Leader has said it is a system worthy of his new acoustic guitar, and I want someone to turn up with a Moog synth!”
For more information about Flipside Soundsystem, visit: flipside-soundsystem.co.uk