Built less than ten years ago, Sao Paolo’s stunningly gorgeous Basilica Nosa Senhora do Rosario boasts Gothic-style architecture inspired by such medieval grand cathedrals as Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle in Paris. Its detailed ornamentation is also reminiscent of the finest European cathedrals. More than 1,200 pilgrims visit the basilica every month.
As with Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle, the interior of the basilica is very reverberant and fraught with complex acoustics, so designing and installing a suitable modern sound system was no small feat. The system had to be visually unobtrusive yet deliver clear, intelligible sound everywhere. Diego Nascimento Brito and the team at systems integrator AMI Music of Sao Paulo met the challenge with Renkus-Heinz Iconyx technology.
“Masses at the basilica are very traditional, with no instrumental music but a lot of Gregorian chant, along with spoken word,” explains Brito. “To handle the main part of the room, we mounted a pair of Renkus-Heinz IC16-R-II digitally steerable line arrays to the columns that flank the base of the steps to the stage. From there, we could steer multiple beams to cover the room while minimizing the effects of the many reflective surfaces.”
With a building that is an awe-inspiring work of art, it was imperative that the sound system be as invisible as possible. To accomplish this, Brito had Renkus-Heinz customize the paint so that the slim, low-profile IC16-RII columns were the same shade of crimson as the walls. If you don’t know where to look, you probably won’t see them.
The altar is behind the IC16s and therefore outside their coverage area. The chorus is up in the mezzanine, and there’s an arched corridor. To serve these areas, Brito chose Renkus-Heinz IC7-II mechanically steered array loudspeakers. While they employ the same triple-tweeter technology and natural sound reproduction as the IC16-R-II, the IC7-II’s fixed acoustical beam is particularly well suited for side fill, front fill, and short throw applications that don’t require programmable control. That enabled Brito to precisely cover the smaller areas.
The corridor presented a special challenge. But, says Brito, “the IC7-IIs proved an excellent solution for the corridor, as well, thanks to their controlled dispersion.” The AMI team installed a pair of stacked IC7-II columns on either side of the front of the corridor, beneath the arches (four IC7-II units total). A delayed pair of IC7-IIs was mounted further down the corridor.
“The combination of the IC16-R-II main pair and the ten IC7-IIs has worked perfectly,” Brito reports. “The client says everything is fantastic, they love the system, and they want us to put a Renkus-Heinz system in the sacristy as well. People from other local churches have come to the basilica to check out the new sound system. Everyone has been very impressed.”