The Great Hall is notable for being the location of King Arthur’s Round Table and is all that remains of Winchester Castle, after Oliver Cromwell ordered the demolition almost 400 years ago.
The Great Hall has been dubbed as ‘one of the finest surviving aisled halls of the 13th Century’ and will now house a discreet audio system comprising of Bose Panaray MA12EX column loudspeakers with bass reinforcement and Panaray MB4 subs.
Audio visual solutions provider, Whitwam, was consulted as the company has proven experience in working in historic environments, including Windsor Castle and Westminster Abbey.
The brief was to design a discreet system to be used for both speech reinforcement for conferences and receptions and mid ground music reproduction for concerts and product launches.
The loudspeakers had to blend into the stonework of the hall whilst not actually being fixed to the walls, at the same time delivering vocal clarity and full range live and recorded music.
An additional challenge was the high level of reverberance in the Great Hall and the requirement for the speakers to be temporarily removed when historic dramas are being filmed on site.
Whitwam is a Bose Pro Partner, meaning it had access to the full portfolio of Bose Professional products. In the end the company installed eight MA12EX speakers which are double stacked, enabling the installation company to place them at four discreet points in the hall.
The MA12EX is designed to provide ‘outstanding vocal intelligibility’ in acoustically demanding spaces and the slim column enclosure should blend in with almost any décor – particularly when the speakers are spray painted to match the surrounding stone, as in the Great Hall.
Within each speaker, twelve full range drivers are mounted in a vertical line array to deliver wide horizontal coverage with a narrow vertical pattern and stacking the speakers in pairs offers improved throw distance and reduced floor and ceiling reflections.
The whole system is powered by a Bose PowerMatch 8500N amplifier and controlled from a wired Crestron touchscreen.
In addition, Whitwam very cleverly custom designed a stainless-steel tubular bracket that is fixed into the flagstone floor and holds the speakers securely in place but away from the historic stonework of the walls.
All wiring is hidden within the tube and the cabling was completed whilst the hall was undergoing a full electrical refit.
Whitwam also made soft covers for the speakers, so that they can be safely removed when a film crew is onsite, filming a scene from history.
David Harding of Whitwam says: “We selected the MA12EX speakers for several reasons – acoustically they are ideal for the reverberant hall, aesthetically they blend into their surroundings, and we were able to customise them for the specific requirements of the Great Hall. But also Bose offers peace of mind.
“Their products are reliable, they carry a five year warranty, and we have back-up from Bose when we need it. Although the frequency range (down to 58 Hz) allows full-range speech and light music reinforcement without separate low-frequency loudspeakers, we decided to add the MB4 subs for extended bass when output levels are higher.”
Reproduced from Essential Install magazine – December 2015
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