Since being founded in 1930, Temple Beth Israel (TBI) has been shaping Jewish life in Melbourne, and from a technological perspective has become the first synagogue in Australia to stream Shabbat services online.
However, its sound system had aged to the point where it was no longer meeting the expectations of its increasingly technology-savvy congregation. Aside from its poor directional control and inability to deliver sufficiently intelligible speech, the inflexibility of the system infrastructure was restricting the new clergy’s creative development and exploration of new formats for services and events.
Thus the time was right to improve the usability of the Synagogue’s Sanctuary spaces and provide the congregation with effortless listening conditions.
Rabbi Gersh Lazarow’s vision for a modern, flexible worship space in combination with the strong musical aspirations of Cantor Michel Laloum led to the appointment of Hanson Associates as the acoustics and audio visual consulting engineers.
The consultants duly developed a performance specification for the new sound reinforcement system, identifying the products that would meet its challenging requirements. This resulted in integrators, Urban Intelligence, fitting a discreet 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.
The challenge had been to enhance the worship experience throughout the Main Synagogue and adjacent Slome Hall — two ‘grand’ spaces, with significant spatial volume, 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 1100 people. However, the space is generally subdivided, with worship occurring in the Main Synagogue and community events hosted in Slome Hall.
Confirms Hanson Associates’ Mark Hanson, “We nominated OmniLine because computer modeling, 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.”
Furthermore, Hanson Associates were able to share experience of working with OmniLine in similar acoustically challenging environments. “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 confirms.