Synagogue in Melbourne installs Martin Audio OmniLine line array

AUTHOR: Inavate

Temple Beth Israel (TBI) was founded in 1930 in Melbourne, Australia. The synagogue’s sound system had aged and no longer met the requirements of the space. The house of worship therefore engaged the services of Hanson Associates as the acoustics and audio visual consulting engineers to upgrade the audio system.

The older sound system had poor directional control and was unable to deliver sufficiently intelligible speech. In addition the inflexibility of the system infrastructure was restricting the new clergy’s creative development and exploration of new formats for services and events.

Hanson Associates developed a performance specification for the new sound reinforcement system and integrators, Urban Intelligence, fitted an OmniLine micro line array from Martin Audio to provide the versatile solution required. The eventual system comprised 4 x 12-element actively processed line arrays, supplied by Technical Audio Group, Martin Audio’s Australian distributors. Each OmniLine hang was supported by custom bracketry, designed in conjunction with Urban Intelligence, to maximise the final tilt angles and allow cables to be concealed.

Mark Hanson from Hanson Associates said: “We nominated OmniLine because computer modelling, conducted by the engineering team using Martin Audio Display software and EASE, proved it could meet the stringent electroacoustic performance requirements. The synagogue was also impressed with OmniLine’s small footprint and minimal visual impact.”

The challenge had been to enhance the worship experience throughout the Main Synagogue and adjacent Slome Hall. Both spaces have significant spatial volume and are separated by an operable wall. In combined format these spaces host large services, state funerals and music performances, when it can then accommodate up to 1,100 people. However, the space is generally subdivided, with worship occurring in the Main Synagogue and community events hosted in Slome Hall.

Hanson explained how the chosen Martin Audio OmniLine line array helped overcome the challenge: “We knew the extended linear frequency response and superior pattern control of the OmniLines across a large listening area, and their ability to minimise acoustic energy ‘spill’ onto reflective surfaces, would guarantee a high level of system stability for a wide range of room formats.”

Hanson also cited the importance of specifically generated linear phase FIR filters for each of the 48-line elements in the four line array configurations to achieve consistent seat coverage across all frequencies, while achieving rejection of sound onto the stage and towards the upper balcony rear wall.

In summation Hanson said: “With the control afforded by OmniLine, we have been able to achieve musical clarity and speech intelligibility — despite the reverberance. We have also avoided the need to implement under-balcony fills, and all sightline requirements have been met.”