A Look Back at the 1952 Parkin-Taylor Paper: Speech Reinforcement in St. Paul's Cathedral
[Feature Article] The Parkin-Taylor paper and the work it represents heralded a revolution in speech-reinforcement system design. The accepted wisdom at the time of its publication (1952) was that low reverberation time was essential for high speech intelligibility in large spaces. This frequently involved the sacrifice of much of the beauty that long reverberation time provides for specific classes of music, including organ, choral, and congregational singing. The distributed-column loudspeaker system at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral proved that a different approach was possible, and similar systems now exist in possibly a majority of Western European cathedrals and large churches, as well as in similar spaces in North America.
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