Feature: Shrine amplification
Feature: Shrine amplification
Fo Guang Shan has built a new temple in Johor Bahru, FGS HsingMa Temple, with a d&b Y-Series system reinforcing the main shrine
Established in 1967, Fo Guang Shan is a Chinese Buddhist monastic order headquartered in Taiwan’s Dashu District. Over the course of its first half a century, the order has spread across the world, developing hundreds of temples, worship centres, educational institutes, museums and other facilities, as well as a global following of approximately 3 million devotees.
Johor Bahru in Malaysia is one of the latest cities to see a Fo Guang Shan sanctuary built. Named FGS HsingMa Temple, its main shrine hall accommodates more than 1,000 Buddhists. To ensure everybody in the room is able to hear speech and chants with clarity, Chan Lee Sound and Light proposed a potential sound solution from d&b audiotechnik. Having served as Fo Guang Shan’s rental contractor for a number of years, Chan Lee Sound had employed d&b systems on several of the monastic order’s past events. As the decision-makers at Fo Guang Shan had been happy with the sound quality produced during those events, they agreed that a solution from the same manufacturer would make a good choice for FGS HsingMa Temple.
With this being a permanent installation at a brand-new temple, Chan Lee Sound brought Search Music into the project to make sure the d&b system was to the best standard possible.
‘Search Music represents and distributes d&b audiotechnik in Malaysia,’ explains Gilbert Seng from Search Music. ‘Chan Lee Sound and Light, our rental partner, played an important role in this project as they had proposed d&b to the client. It was then our responsibility to ensure a great installation at FGS HsingMa Temple, especially as Fo Guang Shan is a world-renowned Buddhist organisation.’
The sound system was designed around d&b’s Y-Series, which is designed for use in concert venues, due to the size of the main shrine hall. The setup comprises eight Y8 and four Y12 dual, 8-inch, two-way line array cabinets. Whereas the Y8 offers a dispersion of 80°, the Y12 is capable of 120°. A pair of Y-Sub subwoofers provide added low-end reinforcement, and a pair of Ti10L installation-specific line array speakers from the German manufacturer’s T-Series form a centre cluster above the stage. Keeping the system entirely on-brand, the passive speakers are all powered by two d&b audiotechnik 30D amplifiers and a 10D unit.
‘The Ti10L speakers and 10D amplifier were added later, after the temple had opened,’ notes Seng.
While the system design is relatively simple, the installation, however, wasn’t without its challenges. ‘The first challenge we faced during this project was due to a combination of the hall’s high ceiling and the long distance between the control room and the speakers,’ Seng recalls. ‘This made the laying of cables very difficult as the team had to install them about 9m above the floor. Safety was therefore one of our main concerns and, of course, we made sure our engineers were all well-equipped with the necessary attire. We also had to take into consideration the house lights, air conditioning system and the wood partition that formed part of the interior décor when determining a path for the cabling to make sure it didn’t interfere with any of those elements.’
It wasn’t just the cabling that was affected by the hall’s interior design though, as the positioning of the speakers was also dictated by the main shrine hall’s aesthetics.
‘The positions of the speakers were adjusted several times due to the constant changes made to the interior design,’ says Seng. ‘In fact, the Ti10L centre cluster was added because we no longer achieved the desired coverage following these changes.’
However, the wood partitioning that the cabling had to avoid did provide acoustic benefits. ‘The entire room was surrounded by tiles and hard surfaces initially,’ recalls Seng. ‘This resulted in strong reverberation and unintelligible sound. Then, the wood partitioning was introduced along with other materials that provided some acoustic treatment, absorbing some of the frequencies so that we could tune the system to deliver clear sound.’
With all challenges overcome, FGS HsingMa Temple is now open and the d&b system is reportedly working well. ‘The Y-Series system is mainly used for chanting and speech,’ concludes Seng. ‘And, occasionally, there will even be musical performances.’