R-H Iconyx Gen5s debut at St Patrick’s Catholic Church
WORLD: The room acoustics in the 1,000-capacity sanctuary at St Patrick’s Catholic Church on the outskirts of Washington D.C have always been a problem – and one not helped greatly by the building’s original sound system, which had served it faithfully since the church’s beginnings in 1968. In desperate need of an update, systems integrator, RCI Systems, opted to install a Renkus-Heinz beam-steering solution.
‘The sanctuary has an A-frame architecture with 10m-high ceilings and lots of windows,’ explained RCI Systems’ Gene Ingham. ‘The altar area is in the centre, the choir is on one side with the organ and piano, and most of the congregation sits directly in front. The original sound system did not project far enough, so it was like a cloud of sound coming out of the sky, lacking clarity and intelligibility.’
RCI installed a pair of R-H Iconyx IC16-RN digitally steered arrays for the sanctuary. ‘RCI Systems uses the Renkus-Heinz IC Live Series for our event production business, so I'm very familiar with their beam-steering technology,’ offered Mr Ingham. ‘We do a lot of work in very reverberant spaces, and IC Live is a real problem solver for us. St Patrick's has a traditional service with organ, piano and choir, and speech intelligibility is important for them. The IC16-RNs sound great and have plenty of power.
‘We used two beams for each loudspeaker to cover the room, and the beam coverage was so wide that I only had to put two IC16-RNs in, and it still covers the main room and at least half of the transept,’ he continued. ‘Initially I was going to put the loudspeakers closer to the audience, but when we looked at the modelling, we found that if we could place the loudspeakers to the left and right of the altar, about 3m, we could shoot over everything and still get plenty of sound in the back. The new Rhaon II software made it come together very quickly. And with the IC16-RN's low-profile design, half the people don't even know the speakers are there.
‘The best part is the direct field; when you're anywhere in the main body of the church, the coverage at every seat is the same,’ concluded Mr Ingham. ‘I attended a service, and whether the vicar used a handheld wireless mic or a gooseneck mic or the altar mic, his tone sounded the same through the Iconyx speakers. It was a pleasure to hear. While we were tuning the system, a parishioner remarked they’d never heard it sound this clear before.’