In a city filled with thousands of houses of worship, Somang Presbyterian Church still stands above the rest as one of the most respected churches in Seoul, the South Korean capital. Now, thanks to TW AUDiO, the church's cutting-edge sound system helps it stand out even more.
Located in the heart of the fashionable Gangnam district, the church has been made famous by its long history, stretching back over more than 40 years, as well as its progressive use of technology in worship services. The most recent example—a top to bottom reinvention of its second sanctuary—has proven no less influential, drawing the attention of congregants and sound engineers alike.
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Used primarily for wedding services and by the church’s youth group, Somang’s second sanctuary would feel like a main auditorium elsewhere. Yet for Jung Hak Kim and Seokwoo Choi of Star Networks, the space presented a number of challenges, including high reverberation that had made the previous audio system sound muddy.
“The old system had a lack of intelligibility which we needed to solve,” explained Kim. “Plus, the interior of the sanctuary has been completely renewed. We needed to ensure that the new system was unobtrusive and didn’t block the audience’s view of the new LED screen at the rear of the stage.
“Like most churches, they didn’t want us to put subwoofers on the floor, mainly because of appearance, so I wanted to find an acoustically ideal position to provide even low-end coverage. We also had to eliminate the need for front-fills. Finally, we had to be careful to secure maximum gain before feedback—the pastor’s podium was moved forward by approximately two meters, but the rigging position remained the same.”
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For Star Networks, the solution was clear—TW AUDiO ELLA.
“This was a big decision for the church—it was not easy to invest in new technology during the global pandemic,” explained Choi. “But it’s an investment for the next generation and for everyone’s recovery after COVID-19.”
Two L-R hangs of 12-per-side ELLA6 enclosures now cover the entire sanctuary, supported by just two S32 subwoofers. The subs are discreetly positioned in the middle of the proscenium, where organ speakers were once installed. The S32’s cardioid preset minimizes rearward lobing. The entire system is powered by two Powersoft T604DSP and one Powersoft T602DSP.
“ELLA’s sleek and elegant appearance blends perfectly with the venue’s aesthetic,” said Choi. “It is almost invisible compared with the old bulky PA and the congregation enjoys perfect sightlines to the LED screen. Also, the SPL of the new system is around a third of its predecessor but delivers better intelligibility and coverage."
Most importantly, the church is delighted. “The pastor has described it as a huge upgrade, he’s absolutely thrilled, and the church’s musicians say they feel like they are performing in a concert hall," Choi concluded. "The success of this installation will be a touchstone for the future.”