St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s Church (Escanaba, Mich.) recently overcame an acoustical mishap that began more than 10 years ago, when painters applied semi-gloss to the acoustical tiles covering its interior walls. The paint sealed the surface and permanently transformed the original sound-absorbing tiles into a hard, reflective surface.
“The echoes were just awful,” recalls parishioner Matt Sviland, a member of the church’s finance committee. “The sermons were incomprehensible, and there were gaping holes in the coverage. We were getting so many complaints about the sound, and we were losing members and visitors because they couldn’t hear. This is one of the area’s biggest and most glorious churches. We simply had to fix the sound, but we had to find expertise in church audio, and that’s a fairly specialized skill that you don’t run across much on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”
The church’s pastor was notified of Eagle Communication (Ferndale, Mich.), co-owned by Tony Rogalski. Rogalski suggested EAW’s DSA Series loudspeakers would be the perfect solution. “The church described the exact problem I had just solved for a massive old church in downtown Detroit,” explained Rogalski. “With hard surfaces like marble, wood and stained glass, old churches frequently battle reverberation when it comes to the spoken word. At the same time, these same churches often reject traditional damping methods, such as acoustic paneling, because they don’t want to cover or in any way mar the traditional and well-loved aesthetic of the old buildings.”
Eagle sent two technicians to install a pair of DSA250 line arrays painted to match the front columns where they were mounted. While existing speakers worked well enough for overflow areas, Eagle upgraded the console to an Allen and Heath MixWizard 16:2DX and a dbx Drive Rack P.A. for additional equalization in areas not covered by the DSA speakers. A new Shure ULXP 14 UHF wireless body pack system and Countryman E6 headset mic for the pastor ensure comfort and mobility with a natural, clean sound.
“The sound is excellent, and the coverage is amazing for only two unnoticeable speakers at the front. We were lucky to find a team of experts who knew exactly the right solution. Best of all, people can hear again, which means that members and visitors are coming back and appreciating all of the glory our church has to offer.”
For more information, please go to www.eaw.com.