CHIJMES gets a sound system upgrade with K-array

CHIJMES gets a sound system upgrade with K-array discreet and directional speakers to complement acoustics

Key facts

  • Project type:
    • Auditorium
    • Outdoors
  • Location:
    • Victoria Street, Singapore
  • Client:
  • Brief:
    • To implement a sound system which takes into account the cathedral acoustics of the hall and provide powerful, focused sound in a direct weather environment

  • Equipment:
    • K-array

      • Kobra-KK102 I, 100cm-long, variable beam stainless steel line array element with 16x2" cones
      • Kayman-KY102, 100cm-long, variable beam stainless steel line array element with 8x4" cones
      • Rumble-KU44, Ultra-slim, 8/32Ω stainless steel passive subwoofer with 4x4" cones
      • Rumble-KU210, Ultra-slim, 4/16Ω stainless steel passive subwoofer with 2x10" cones
      • Thunder-KMT21P I, Ultra-light, high power 8Ω, 21” passive subwoofer
      • Kommander-KA24, Class D, 2U-rack amplifier with DSP and remote control (4x500W @ 4Ω)
      • Kommander-KA84, Class D, 2U-rack amplifier with DSP and remote control (4x2000W @ 4Ω)
  • Year: 2019

CHIJMES gets a sound system upgrade with K-array discreet and directional speakers to complement acoustics

Reproduced from Pro AVL Asia Magazine

Singaporean landmark Chijmes has been upgraded with new AV packages throughout its main function hall and entertainment venues. Richard Lawn looks and listens
Reinventing and repurposing a historic building for commercial use is more than a challenge – it’s a commercial risk. Constructed in the late 19th century as a Catholic convent and Gothic-style chapel, Singapore’s downtown Chijmes (Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus) complex was significantly restored in the early 1990s. Successfully transformed into a neo-classical edifice, Singaporeans and visitors alike are beckoned to this landmark, where a rich mix of dining and entertainment gives little hint of its religious origins.

At heart of the Victoria Street landmark is a five-storey spire aloft the Gothic Revival chapel for the convent, incorporating original features such as Belgian stained-glass windows together with 648 capitals, each of these architectural features leaving a unique impression of tropical flora and birds upon the columns and corridors. Renamed Chijmes Hall and managed by Watabe Singapore, the function hall now serves as a venue for weddings and corporate functions, and was used for a wedding scene in the Hollywood film Crazy Rich Asians. Its gothic arches and high ceilings are elegantly lit by an array of sparkling crystal chandeliers to provide an unforgettable ambience.

However, unlike the visual impact created by the architecture, sound reinforcement is an altogether more muted affair. Xiang Ju Chan from XJ Audio & Visual Productions was commissioned to improve the overall audio quality in both the chapel and the outdoor garden areas within whose perimeter lie the outlets. “The heritage status of the complex dictated that modifications applied to the fixtures had to be extremely sensitive,” explains Xiang. “Once detailed plans had been submitted and approved, we commenced works onsite, starting with laying the cable infrastructure to the loudspeaker points in the gardens between midnight and 6am.”

Chijmes Hall is a restored early Gothic styled 19th Century chapel
Tiled flooring was lifted for loudspeaker cable conduits created underground to four posts, including sign directors around the perimeter. “The SPLs of the surrounding entertainment outlets increases as the evening wears on and, as a result, the management needed a speaker system that would cut through,” adds Xiang. “Following demonstrations by Loud Technologies Asia, the consultant opted for the virtues of a K-array loudspeaker package to be rolled out at Chijmes. Not only are these cabinets hard to detect but they were deemed to be the best-suited for this application on account of their precise directional properties and extraordinary clarity.”

Each fixture is equipped with a pair of Kayman-KY102 passive speakers with a Rumble-KU210 dual 10-inch subwoofer directly below. At 125mm, it’s the widest model in the Italian manufacturer’s portfolio, yet the weatherproof passive models remain unobtrusive attached to each pole. Equipped with eight identical 4-inch woofers, the sources are coupled to produce a true line array that radiates a very wide horizontal sound beam uniformly over a long distance.

In the 300-capacity Chijmes Hall, the main FOH system consists of four Kobra-KK102 cabinets affixed in pairs in an L-R configuration, while two floor-mounted Thunder-KMT21P 21-inch subwoofers hidden behind curtains provide the main low-frequency extension. Comprising 16 2-inch neodymium magnet woofers, the 1m Kobra-KK102 cabinets are arrayed on top of one another. Finished in white, the 59mm x 81mm (WxD) stainless chassis are not only hard to detect, they also provide up to 120° coverage in the horizontal plain down to 150Hz (–6dB). Vertical coverage can be selected between spot (7°) and flood (35°). Mounted onto rising pillars further away from the stage, four pairs of Kayman-KY102 cabinets together with single Rumble-KU44 arrayable quad 4-inch subwoofers provide side- and rear-fills.

Kayman KY102 arrays coupled with single Rumble-KU44 subs serve as fills in the Chijmes Hall
A combination of three Kommander-KA84 and two -KA24 four-channel amplifiers provide ample headroom and DSP to both the indoor chapel and outdoor garden systems.

Visual projections onto the chapel can now be displayed from a Barco UDX-4K32 3-Chip DLP laser phosphor projector. Housed within a customised, climate-controlled cabinet within the gardens, the outdoor effects of high humidity, rain and heat are locked out from the electronics of the 31,000-lumen projector. Mapped images onto the chapel ensure that the venue can be seen well beyond the existing courtyard in the evening. “Having analysed a number of projectors available on the market, I selected the Barco model on account of its brightness and image quality,” says Xiang. “For AV synchronisation, an audio feed is connected to the SQ-6 console.”

Perhaps it is just as well that the nuns are no longer around to witness the AV transformation performed by XJ Audio & Visual Productions. However, for patrons and businesses, the newly added components provide aural clarity where needed within this stylish venue and entertainment hub.

This article appears in the September - October edition of Pro AVL Asia. Subscribe at

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