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A suitable solution for St Louis Bertrand

A suitable solution for St Louis Bertrand

A suitable solution for St Louis Bertrand


St Louis Bertrand Catholic Church was established in Louisville, Kentucky when the Dominicans arrived after the American Civil War. Approximately a decade later, an English Gothic sanctuary was built and today it attracts more than 2,000 congregants for services on major holidays. Several unsuccessful attempts have been made at installing a suitable sound system inside the sanctuary over the years, but David Knight of Knight Audio found the solution in the form of Renkus-Heinz’s Iconyx steerable loudspeakers.

‘We're very familiar with Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers and had done a very similar room before, so I'd seen Iconyx loudspeakers work in that situation,’ explained Knight. The church has long reverberation times to complement choirs and pipe organs, but make the spoken word sometimes difficult to understand. It has a ceiling that reaches a peak height of more than 15m and is 34m long. As well as the hard, reflective surfaces common in Gothic architecture, columns line the interior and a choir loft with a pipe organ presents further acoustical complications.

Knight installed a pair of Iconyx Gen5 IC24-RN digitally steered line array loudspeakers on the left and right at the front of the sanctuary. At the back of the room, a pair of IIC8-RN steerable loudspeakers are mounted on columns to provide rear-fill, with delayed signals. Knight also repurposed existing speakers to keep upgrade costs as low as possible, such as in the cry room and other spaces around the sanctuary, although the four Renkus-Heinz arrays handle all sound reinforcement in the sanctuary.

‘The columns don't line up exactly on both sides,’ Knight noted. ‘But even when you're standing behind a column, you're getting enough coverage from the speaker on the other side of the room that you don't notice you're behind a column. The staff at St Louis Bertrand suddenly were hearing the system so well that they thought it was too loud. I said “The reason we put this system in was because people couldn't hear well enough to understand what was being said. If you can hear it now, then that means other people can hear it, too”.’

The priests use existing wired mics, which feed into a Biamp TesiraForté processor, the outputs of which drive the loudspeakers throughout the building.

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