K-arrays Blends in Guildford Cathedral

Supplied and installed by DM Music, the K-array Vyper ultra-flat line arrays deliver exceptional intelligibility from the discreet, colour-matched enclosures to Guildford Cathedral.

After the cathedral’s technical staff decided to replace the out-dated 100V line loudspeaker system, they approached Harpenden-based DM Music to tender for the audio design project. As part of the upgrade it was also necessary from a health and safety perspective to remove the asbestos-based acoustic plaster that was lining the 22-metre high, 1,000 square metre ceiling, and as a result the building acoustics presented the installer with a sizeable challenge.

DM Music’s Installations Director Graham Bennewith explained, “removing the plaster made things substantially worse for us, so we had to design a speaker system that would be intelligible even with a subsequent RT60 reverb time of around 6.5 seconds!”

“The advantage that K-array has over other speaker manufacturers is that not only do their installed products sound great in an environment such as this, they are also very discreet, and we were able to RAL colour-match to the stone work to make them virtually invisible,” he said.

The Vyper KV50 column arrays installed in the nave consist of eight closely spaced 1-inch drivers in an elegant stainless-steel chassis, providing focused listening from the inward-facing pillar locations. Their narrow vertical dispersion and wide horizontal coverage pattern ensure that sound is directed solely at the congregation and away from reflective surfaces.

In addition to the sixteen KV50s covering the whole of the nave, eight K-array KU44 colour-matched subwoofers are fixed on the outside of every other pillar, complementing the mid-high speakers to provide full range frequency response.

In the crossing a pair of K-array KV50s point back towards the Quire to fill in for the front few rows. Tornado KT2 spot monitors are installed under the choir pews; this location is also the control point for the whole system – equipped with a fixed iPad, a mobile iPad so the vergers can walk around and assess sound quality, a CD player, and a recorder. An additional pair of KV50 speakers fire up towards the presbytery.

“To complete the loudspeaker setup, there is another pair of KV50s with KU44 subs projecting sound to the high altar. We’ve also installed a feed into the choristers’ practice space to allow them to hear what’s going on while they’re getting ready, while in the West Porch we’ve got KT2s to provide some in-fill, and in the West Gallery we’ve also installed KV50s,” Graham continued.

“At the heart of the system are two Dante-enabled Yamaha MTX5D processors – one in the loft and one in the basement. Everything in the East End all wires down to the basement, which is then linked on Dante to the processor up at the top, all through 10mm conduit. Radio mic receivers are up in the top, and from the MTX5D we feed to the K-array amplifiers, which are mostly KA24s.” Graham concluded: “In terms of matching the building, K-array is really the only brand that can do the job.”