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Autograph, DiGiCo And d&b At The Emmanuel Centre

Located just a few minutes’ walk from the Palace of Westminster in central London, The Emmanuel Centre is a beautiful Grade II listed building which is also a true multi-purpose venue.

Originally built as the Ninth Church of Christ Scientist between 1926-1930 and designed by prolific English architect Sir Herbert Baker, it was granted a Grade II listing in 1978 and renamed the Emmanuel Centre after being acquired by the Emmanuel Evangelical Church in 1997. Modified Byzantine in its architectural style, a red brick façade and Lombardic tile roof lead to the dramatic and striking double-height entrance hall where Portland stone stairs lead to three separate spaces. The Upper and Lower Halls both accommodate up to 300 individuals, whilst the Main Auditorium seats 1,000.

This grand and circular Auditorium still maintains original oak pews and wall panelling, beautifully detailed fretwork organ cases, and is surrounded by a continuous colonnade of twinned grey marble Tuscan columns which flank traceried windows; a large domed roof is dominated by a traceried circular skylight and gilded inscription band. It is an atmospheric and captivating space which lends itself to a vast range of applications beyond those for which it was originally built - in addition to a busy programme of meetings, lectures, debates, book and product launches, exhibitions, rallies, and concerts, the Emmanuel Centre remains an active place of worship as a trans-denominational church.

Autograph Sales & Installations were tasked with supplying and installing a sound system into the Main Auditorium. Since the room is as much a concert and contemporary worship venue as it is a meeting space, this demanded a design which could be powerful and dynamic for live music but also deliver the spoken word with absolute clarity to every point in the room. After an extended process of product demonstrations and evaluations, working closely with the Centre’s technical staff and led by Autograph’s Peppe Mallozzi, a d&b audiotechnik Vi-series loudspeaker system was chosen.

The main part comprises two d&B Vi-SUB subwoofers with two Vi8 and two Vi12 modules per side, ground stacked either side of the stage. A row of four d&b E8 enclosures are located along the front of the stage while another E8 is positioned on the outside of each stack. The whole system is powered by just three d&b 30D DSP-equipped amplifiers and is split into zones following a design created within d&b’s ArrayCalc simulation software.

To ensure perfectly even reproduction throughout the large and highly reverberant space, the E8s provide high/mid frequency coverage for the first four rows, after which the Vi12s (the lower pair of line-array modules with a wide, 120-degree horizontal dispersion) take over. From halfway up the room the 80-degree dispersion Vi8s provide the high/mid coverage for the whole rear part of the room.

Autograph also supplied a new DiGiCo SD12 compact digital mixing console complete with two D-Racks, which together with d&b’s technology provides a flexible, powerful and accessible audio infrastructure that satisfies the needs of clients and visiting sound engineers.

'For various reasons the Emmanuel Centre project took a while but there's no doubt in my mind that we collaboratively made a good final decision. d&b's Vi-series sounds amazing, it was very easy to install and configure and their ArrayCalc allowed us to create multiple audio zones (which collectively sound like a single sound field wherever you stand) using a relatively small number of enclosures. There was no possibility to fly any of the equipment due to the nature of the building and the native reverb time is well over three seconds but with our design and d&b's loudspeakers we have achieved the best possible result.'

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