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HOW Sound

Solving a Church’s Post-Renovation Reflection Problem

A recent renovation made the HOW more acoustically reflective.

St. Anthony, MN (October 2, 2018)—Built in 1959, the church of St. Charles Borromeo is a massive house of worship that serves a congregation of 1,500 families. A recent renovation made the church’s interior more beautiful but also far more sonically reflective, so a team from Metro Sound & Lighting stepped in after the fact to tame St. Charles’ problematic audio.

“When St. Charles was constructed, the builders had the presence of mind to use a special plaster that had some acoustical properties to help cut down a little bit on the reflections,” said Randy Keeley, vice president of sales for St. Paul, MN, systems integrator and dealer Metro Sound & Lighting (MSL). “They decided to repaint the entire church and give it a facelift, which took away those acoustical properties, so the space became very ambient.”

Renkus-Heinz Rides Into Marysville

The parish contacted MSL to design and install a new sound system. “We came in and did some evaluations and decided that steerable-beam technology was the best solution,” Keeley continues. As a result, MSL installed used two Renkus-Heinz ICONXY Gen 5 IC32-RN digitally steerable line array loudspeakers at the front of the church to serve as the main sound system, and a further IC Live Gen5-series ICL-F-RN digitally steered array in the back, facing towards parishoners from behind in order to supplement the choir.

Renkus-Heinz’ IC32-RN loudspeakers in front provided programmable control and precision beam steering and were able to cover all pews while minimizing reflections off the sanctuary’s many hard surfaces. “We were prepared to use fills but they were not necessary, as the two IC32-RN arrays do an incredible job in this space,” Keeley said.

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“In the back of the church, we hung one Renkus-Heinz IC Live Gen5-series ICL-F-RN digitally steered array in front of the choir loft, and that works quite well,” Keeley added. “It helps keep the point of reference; it makes sense to people because the music comes from the same location where it is performed.”

Renkus-Heinz •