Florrisant, MO – March 2014 … One of the first settlements in what would become the State of Missouri, Florrisant was founded in the 18th century by French settlers. Until the late 19th century, French was the village’s predominant language – except for a small population of German settlers in the southern part of town. Seeking a church that spoke their language, in 1866 a handful of those German families founded the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The church’s grand old Gothic style sanctuary has been a landmark on Jefferson Street since 1893. The 600 seat hall was designed in the spirit of the great cathedrals, with soaring walls, stone floors, high arched ceilings, and ornate stained glass windows. It’s a lush, reverberant setting for choir and organ, but problematic for spoken word intelligibility.
“Although it’s not a large room, its acoustical character is very much like that of a cathedral,” explains Gary Haselhorst, President of Valley Park, MO-based Cignal Systems. “Their issues are similar to that of a cathedral, on a smaller scale – it’s a very reverberant space, and intelligibility suffers.” The church’s previous sound system, with 12 pillar-mounted cabinets, only added to the cacophony.
Cignal removed the existing speakers and replaced them with a single Iconyx digitally steered line array column from Renkus-Heinz. “We had recently used the Iconyx in the St. Louis Basilica, and when the monsignors heard how well it worked in the cathedral, they knew there was hope for theirs as well.”
A single IC24-R-II column is mounted on a front pillar, just left of the altar. “We were able to achieve very uniform coverage with just one speaker,” says Haselhorst. “We ordered the cabinet painted to match the brickwork, and the Monsignor’s sister painted some marbled accents on it. It blends in almost invisibly with the architecture.”
Haselhorst reports the system has solved the room’s intelligibility problems and more. “They run the praise band through the Iconyx as well, and it sounds great,” he says. “We took out twelve speakers and replaced them with one Iconyx. They’re very pleased.”
Headquartered in Foothill Ranch, California, Renkus-Heinz, Inc. is the worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of audio operations networks, digitally steerable arrays, powered and non-powered loudspeakers, system specific electronics and fully integrated Reference Point Array systems.