A church recently called back the integrator that had upgraded the audio system in its 1,400-seat sanctuary 11 years earlier, to restore the sound there following some unsympathetic additions to the system by other hands.
St Bonaventure Catholic Church in Davie, Florida upgraded the sound system in its sanctuary in 2004 with the help of Miami-based Revelation Sound, Inc (RSI). As RSI president Michael Melcher recounts, the church wanted a system that could deliver not only spoken word intelligibility, but full-spectrum musicality to reproduce the church's seven different choirs.
RSI designed a distributed point system based around Renkus-Heinz CT-Series loudspeakers, with ten CT-328 boxes and a single CT-5212 cabinet, powered by Crown amps with MediaMatrix processing. A wireless touchscreen controller enabled church staff to choose between a variety of choir presets.
The system worked well, and the client was pleased, but as Melcher explained, "over the ensuing decade, we had lost contact with the church leadership and several other companies came in and 're-did' our work. After two years of struggling with the system, the priest called us back to restore his church to the excellent sound they originally had."
Processing was upgraded to a Symetrix Radius 12x8 EX, and Melcher contacted Robert Bernecker of SEFI Consulting in Waxahachie, Texas, an expert in system tuning, and asked him to assist with re-commissioning the system. "New DSP and algorithms work better than older ones," Melcher explained, "and the Symetrix unit allowed us to implement several custom FIR filter blocks-SysTune and Filter Hose-and timing schemes."
Melcher said the newly retuned sanctuary sounds even better than it did in 2004. "Coverage is more even and consistent, and clarity is dramatically improved. The priest told us the sound raised the hairs on the back of his neck. Not bad for a 12-year-old system."
The experience, says Melcher, demonstrated the lasting value of a well-designed system. "We designed a good system in 2004, and it worked very well with the technology of the day. While the speakers might seem old to some people, Ralph Heinz designed an excellent loudspeaker in the CT-Series, and they responded exceptionally well to IR-based commissioning and flat-phase FIR filters. A well-designed speaker works even better as new processing technologies are developed. A good design remains a good design throughout its life."