Laurenskerk Church, Rotterdam

As the only surviving building from medieval Rotterdam, Laurenskerk possesses a tremendous significance to the city’s people and, in particular, its church-goers. A Protestant House of Worship (HoW) following the Reformation in the 16th Century, the church was much later the subject of extensive damage during World War II. Over the ensuing decades it was restored to its full glory and today remains a cornerstone of the Dutch worship community.

But whilst any visitor cannot fail to be aware of its prodigious history, Laurenskerk’s technical infrastructure is nothing if not contemporary. In recent times the church staff have regularly sought to improve and enhance the audio experience for worshippers, and it was in this spirit that they recently tapped the services of Schaapsound to implement a new PA and audio processing system.

Operating out of three locations across the Netherlands, Schaapsound is a seasoned specialist when it comes to worship AV, regularly undertaking a remarkable 150 church installs every year. For the Laurenskerk fit-out, as with so many in this field, the emphasis was on versatile but easily understandable routing and processing, yielding quick access to different presets suiting different occasions.

“For example,” says Schaapsound sales advisor Joost de Visser, “there needed to be provision to turn off all the mics in the room when the organist was playing, and then have them all back live again as soon as he had finished. The ability to work with simple presets was crucial, and that is one of the requirements that led to us the Xilica Neutrino A1616.”

Part of Xilica’s stalwart Neutrino range, the A1616 offers 16×16 I/O with open architecture, ‘drag and drop’ floating point DSP, 48kHz sampling, high-performance 24-bit converters, and premium grade mic pre-amps. It had proven its worth at a number of previous church installs undertaken by Schaapsound, and has already become a trusted tool for the team at Laurenskerk.

There it feeds some 12 speakers (from Seis Akustik) dotted throughout the church, including speakers situated in the organ loft. Control of individual parameters and presets is provided by the XTouchApp loaded onto an iPad, and a Xilica Touch control.

The work was completed earlier this summer, and de Visser is delighted to reveal that the new audio system has received fulsome praise from church personnel and patrons alike. “The improvement in sound quality has been noted, whilst the staff are very happy with the presets and general ease of use of the Xilica DSP,” he said.