Intelligibility inside the sanctuary at Natuzza Evolo’s tomb
ITALY: Natuzza Evolo was an Italian Catholic mystic who was said to have confirmed stigmata and had visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. In life, she was well known among the Italian Catholic community and would receive many visitors who would travel to her hometown of Paravati in Southern Italy to seek advice and guidance, while some claim that she cured them of ailment. Ms Evolo passed away in 2009 at the age of 85 and her funeral was attended by six bishops and approximately 100 priests as well as thousands of Catholics from across Europe. In the time that has passed since the funeral, The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Refuge of Souls Sanctuary has been constructed around her tomb in Paravati.
The sanctuary spans 150,000 sq-m and was officially opened last year by the Natuzza Evolo Foundation and is currently awaiting its official inauguration from the Archdiocese of Mileto. It comprises four chapels and a large space that can accommodate up to 900 people. To ensure speech intelligibility during meetings and sermons at the sanctuary, founder and CEO of UK-based Grand Acoustics, Toni Soddu, was contracted to design and install a sound system to provide reinforcement in each of the chapels and the walkways that connect them.
‘My brief was to provide a user-friendly sound reinforcement system that was unobtrusive and included the very latest technology. Church ceremonies, and the ambience surrounding them, are very different from music events, so it was important to have microphones that could perform perfectly with many different aspects of speech,’ explains Mr Soddu. ‘As speech intelligibility was a key factor in this project, it was imperative that I chose the right microphones. DPA was top of the list because I’ve used these microphones for many years, particularly on music projects, and I know they are extremely reliable. They also sound fantastic and are exceptionally well designed, providing optimal vocal reproduction even in places like a church where hard marble surfaces can make reverberation times quite high. As we have installed an active monitoring system, we also needed microphones that had high rejection to feedback. DPA fitted this brief perfectly across its entire range.’
Mr Soddu and his team installed eight d:screet podium microphones and eight d:fine directional headset microphones with wireless adapters as well as eight d:screet necklace mics. The necklace microphones are noted as featuring DPA Microphones’ d:screet 4061 Miniature Omnidirectional Capsule.
‘The range we have specified gives the sanctuary plenty of choice so they now have the right product for every application,’ adds Mr Soddu. ‘The d:screet podium microphones are great for standing use, especially for inexperienced speakers who don’t know how to deal with a handheld mic. The d:fine headset microphones are ideal for ceremonies where there are multiple celebrants and the d:screet necklace microphones are perfect for single celebrants, especially priests who want an invisible solution that doesn’t detract from their religious dress. With d:fine headset and necklace microphones, the celebrants can also move around freely and don’t have to worry about knocking their microphone out of position.’
With the solution equipped at the sanctuary, the response has reportedly been favourable. ‘Everyone loves the DPA mics and if my customers are happy, then I certainly am,’ concludes Mr Soddu.