Worship AVL March-April 2022

Page 26

PROJECTS

Politicians’ ears tickled pink Acousticon Sdn Bhd has solved uneven audio directivity, poor speech intelligibility and inefficient power management at the 15,000-capacity Putra Mosque REGARDED AS A SPECIALIST FOR enhancing audio intelligibility in Malaysian mosques, Acousticon Sdn Bhd continues to adopt an analytical approach when mitigating the effects of reverberance. Over 10 years of operation, its status was elevated following the successful integration of a user-friendly AES67 protocol network into the National Mosque of Malaysia (Masjid Negara Malaysia) in 2019. Having taken careful note of Acousticon’s attributes, the department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) requested the open-minded AV consultant to enhance the audio intelligibility within Masjid Putra. As the principal mosque of Putrajaya, Putra Mosque opened its doors to 15,000 worshippers in 1999. Located next to Perdana Putra, which houses the Malaysian Prime Minister’s office and man-made Putrajaya Lake, the pinkdomed Putra Mosque is constructed with rose-tinted granite and consists of three main functional areas – the prayer hall, the Sahn (courtyard) and various learning facilities and function rooms. Over the past two decades, prayers and public address systems within the mosque have been amplified by three different suppliers. None, to date, had fulfilled the client’s fulfilments, as Acousticon’s founder Azizi Ala confirms. “The most current steerable speakers were not fully functioning and could not be repaired as the spare parts such as the power supply modules had been discontinued. In addition to inefficient power management, speech intelligibility was a problem in some sections of the main prayer hall and other zones and the audio directivity across the main prayer hall was uneven.” Like most Malaysian mosques, Putra Mosque required an audio technician to manage the analogue mixer and other aspects of the audio signal chain. “The setup in many ways was similar to that of the National Mosque when we arrived to assess the inherent audio problems,” furthers Ala. “The overriding problem with mosques is that they are highly reverberant spaces. Although the dome is always seen as the main

Acousticon founder, Azizi Ala

An NTI Audio XL2 Acoustic Analyser in use during the acoustic assessment

challenge, the building surfaces are hard, the prayer areas are expansive and there are many pillars.” Despite Acousticon’s glowing credentials among Malaysia’s mosque fraternity, Ala had to tender for the project through Putrajaya’s JKR (Malaysian public works department). “I had to submit a 60-page method of statement document with detailed drawings and explanations on how to mount the column speakers including the type and lengths of screws. The marble façade was a concern for fixing these speakers. Upon analysis, we discovered that there was a 300mm depth cladding frame directly behind the marble in some parts including the Mihrab wall, ensuring a switch from Hexagon nut screws with nylon wall plugs to M8 studs and threaded rods.” Following a site assessment, a proposal was created and submitted to the director of Putrajaya’s Asha’ari Bin Hi Hasan who assumed responsibility for the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure. Having stipulated a tight three-month timeframe for the upgrade to be completed, Acousticon’s works were rendered almost impossible with the imposed Movement Control Order (MCO), a stay-at-home order placed on all Malaysian citizens in the wake of the Delta variant. As a result,

26 WORSHIP AVL March–April 2022

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