St Luke’s Methodist retains historical sonics with DPA Microphones
USA: Updating the audio and acoustics at a historical church while trying to keep its 1950s-era sound and traditional sanctuary charm intact was the task undertaken by SLR International and frequent collaborator Jackson & Ryan Architects (J&R) at the Westheimer Campus of St Luke’s Methodist Church in Houston, TX. For sound reinforcement of speech and music, and recording, multi-disciplinary design firm SLR International selected a variety of DPA Microphones' podium, instrument and recording microphones. The update to the main sanctuary was the first portion of an ongoing project at St. Luke’s Westheimer Campus. Its Georgian-style house of worship was completed in 1951 and is currently presided over by Senior Pastor Dr Thomas J Pace. The updates, under the guidance of J&R principle architect John Clements, AIA, will encompass the construction of additional buildings.
‘The main goal was accurately getting the sound from the chancel and choir into the sanctuary,’ explains Thaddeus Leopoulos, senior design consultant at SLR International. ‘The architecture of the space is Georgian, making it acoustically fantastic for playing period and traditional music. DPA microphones have a wonderful off-axis response that is perfect for settings like this.’
Mr Leopoulos chose DPA’s d:screet 4018F supercardioid podium microphones for the lectern and pulpit and several d:fine 4088 headset microphones, along with four d:dicate 4018C hanging compact microphones situated above the choir. St Luke’s has dedicated the sanctuary to traditional worship services and hosts many high-profile musicians and theatre groups, requiring high-quality recording solutions that will enable the house of worship to capture not just its services but all who perform there. Mr Leopoulos carefully considered several instrument and recording microphones for the task, choosing the d:vote 4099P stereo miking kit, d:dicate 4015 wide cardioid, d:dicate 4006A omnidirectional and d:dicate 2011C twin diaphragm cardioid microphones. The church also purchased DPA’s four-piece d:vote 4099 classic touring kit for its other various stringed instruments.
With the exception of the d:vote instrument microphones, ‘all of those other mics are hanging from the ceiling, out in the space and at the mouth of the presidium,’ says Mr Leopoulos. ‘They have the ability to make some incredible recordings. The church has fantastic talent – like Grammy Award-winners Conspirare from Austin, Texas – who come here to play, so the mics are put to good use.’
In addition to recording performances, the church puts a large emphasis on speech intelligibility and a natural musical sound. ‘When you’re dealing with a space that has a longer-than-average reverberation time – like St. Luke’s does – the choice of microphones is very important,’ Mr Leopoulos continues. ‘The end result has been a space that sounds like the architecture intended; and I easily trust a task as important as this to DPA.’
Having used DPA on past projects, Mr Leopoulos knew before he began that he would specify the company’s microphones for St Luke’s. ‘My first experience with DPA was with the d:dicate 4018F podium microphone and I noticed right away that the build of the microphone was great,’ he says. ‘The attachment points were robust and the microphone exhibited a very even off-axis response, which is very important for situations in which a pastor might be moving around. If you look at the polar response on a DPA microphone, it’s quite amazing…their coverage is so even.