Location: Liverpool, United Kingdom
Grade 1 listed Liverpool Cathedral is one of the most popular and largest landmarks in the North West of England. With a total external length of 189 meters and an internal length of 150 meters; it is the longest cathedral in the world. In terms of overall volume, Liverpool Cathedral ranks as the fifth largest cathedral in the world and competes with the incomplete Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City for the title of largest Anglican church building. With a height of 101 meters, Liverpool Cathedral is also one of the world’s tallest, non-spired church buildings and the third-tallest structure in the city of Liverpool.
Ampetronic was asked to design an assistive listening system for the rear section of the Cathedral’s Nave (known as the Well). The Well is a lowered area of the Cathedral with stunning views across the central space to the High Altar that is used for private hire for concerts, exhibitions, receptions and formal occasions. The Well seats up to 600 people and represents an important revenue stream for the Cathedral. Faced with all the challenges associated with a Grade 1 listed building, the Cathedral’s team knew they would need the skills of real hearing loop specialists to make the Well truly accessible for people with hearing loss.
© Copyright John Allan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
A perimeter loop at floor level in the Well was the obvious solution; less costly than some other systems, a perimeter loop usually works well in a historic building due to the lack of metal in its structure. However, after a site visit from Ampetronic, the design team concluded that it wouldn’t be possible to install the loop conductor in a position that would be architecturally acceptable without costly work to lift sections of the floor.
A temporary, elevated perimeter loop was then installed in a service walkway 7.3m above the main floor level (with the Well floor being approximately 0.5m lower) and tested so that Ampetronic could collect data to calculate the loop’s precise power requirements. Field strength variation across the space was excellent and frequency response was flat; however the overall field strength was predictably low. This was entirely expected, given the significant height of the loop, and the fact that only one amplifier was being used to drive the temporary loop.
Following analysis of the collected data, Ampetronic recommended an equipment line-up to drive the loop in the Well to the field strength specified by the internationally recognised IEC60118-4 Standard. The line-up included four ILD1000G drivers, with one ILC4/4 4-way combining unit for ILD1000G and one ILR3+ receiver and field strength monitor.
The hearing loop system design for the Well at Liverpool Cathedral demonstrates Ampetronic’s expertise in delivering the right solution for a complex set of requirements; where the obvious solution wasn’t actually the best! Ampetronic provided the designs and equipment for the system and the Liverpool Cathedral AV team undertook the installation.
Equipment used The Well:
1 x ILC4/4 4-way combining unit for ILD1000G
Installed by the Cathedral’s own AV team