Formed by the merger of Nativity of Our Lord and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parishes in 2009, Divine Mercy Parish recently dedicated its brand-new sanctuary. Located a dozen miles northwest of New Orleans, the 19,600-square-foot church seats up to 950 parishioners and features a lovely interior with exposed trusses and a high, vaulted, wood deck ceiling; a stained-glass window wall that separates the narthex from the nave; and several additional stained-glass panels.
Though it might be a heavenly place to worship, the new sanctuary is acoustically challenging. Hard and parallel surfaces abound. Adding to the challenges, the church hosts both traditional and contemporary mass, the latter featuring amplified instruments. So when Technical Services Group, Inc., of Baton Rouge, designed and installed the church’s new sound system, owner/president Arthur “Bo” Hoover knew that keeping reflected sound to a minimum was critical. TSG’s solution: Renkus-Heinz IC Live loudspeakers with steerable beam technology.
“Intelligibility was a primary consideration, of course,” Hoover muses, “and keeping sound off the walls and ceilings was crucial. Renkus-Heinz steerable beam technology is a great solution for that. If vocal intelligibility was the only concern, we would have opted for standard Iconyx arrays. But we needed extra power for amplified music, as well, and the IC Lives have power to spare. They were the right speaker system for this environment.”
For the front main system, the TSG team selected a pair of ICL-FR steerable arrays, recessed into the wall behind the altar and aimed in an “x” pattern. The ICL-FR features a slim enclosure that enables the arrays to blend in visually-an important consideration. Its individual driver control and exceptional vertical pattern control made it a perfect choice for delivering intelligible speech in Divine Mercy’s reverberant sanctuary.
“We had to get a little bit more of a criss-cross angle with the mains than we initially expected,” Hoover recalls, “because there was a bit too much energy hitting an opposing wall. But once we made one or two mechanical adjustments and tweaked the beam steering, it worked great.”
To fill the first few rows, the TSG team embedded a pair of Renkus-Heinz TRX61 point-source speakers in the steps going up to the elevated stage. In the far rear of the sanctuary, they installed a pair of delayed ICL-FR-Dual arrays to serve as rear fills. The double-sized ICL-FR-Dual arrays, which have considerable throw, are recessed into columns, making them barely visible.
With the system installed, Hoover’s team addressed the next challenge – programming the system. As Hoover observes, “the church holds traditional mass, contemporary mass with an amplified band, Spanish-language mass, and other events, and we had to figure out the acoustics of the room and provide setups for each situation.”
The TSG team installed a Symetrix Radius 12×8 EX DSP system with a Symetrix xIn 12 input expander. “We programmed seven or eight profiles that set the system for each type of event, so a lay person can walk in and, for example, choose the ‘Spanish mass’ profile, and the front-of-house and monitoring are automatically set up. It was pretty extensive,” says Hoover.
Everyone has been delighted with the new sound system. “The Renkus-Heinz IC Live system is doing a wonderful job,” Hoover asserts. “The support from Renkus-Heinz was fantastic; they even helped set the beam steering during the commissioning process. Now this beautiful new church has a sound system their parishioners can be proud of.”