The 1,200-seat worship sanctuary at the Church of Holy Apostles in McHenry, IL has been outfitted with a new sound reinforcement system incorpoating a variety of d&b audiotechnik loudspeakers in a project under the direction of Altamonte Springs, FL-based integration firm APAV Solutions.
“Directivity was key to mitigate adverse reflections in the reverberant church space which is why we recommended the d&b Y-Series two-way passive loudspeaker systems,” states Craig Beyrooti, CEO, APAV. “We relied upon the d&b dipole LF arrangements within the YiP and ViP point source speakers to achieve the desired results.” The system includes Yi10P, Vi10P, and 16C column speakers. “Y-Series provides great clarity and offers excellent coverage from a compact cabinet. The sound is clear and warm at the same time and satisfies the tone for sermon as well as musicians.”
Beyrooti adds that a key to the project was the ability to accurately model the performance in d&b ArrayCalc simulation software: “Due to the architecture and seating areas, the rigging plan was challenging so we needed to be sure that we hung the loudspeakers right the first time. ArrayCalc gave us all the information required. We essentially leveraged the DSP in the 30D and 10D amplifiers and combined that with external DSP to give us two distinct sound systems; one that we call the lecture system, which times the Y-Series speakers to the center of the altar, and one that times some of the Y-Series to localize the sound to the choir area. The V-Series located on the choir side of the church are timed to reinforce the acoustic output of the choir.
“For contemporary services, acoustic drums, grand piano, percussion and other acoustic instruments serve to anchor the sound by timing both the V and Y-Series loudspeakers to those sources,” he continues. “We’ve successfully used this technique in many Catholic and traditional churches where the choir is never located in the central altar area, but rather on one side or the other. The result is a much more engaging experience as the congregations’ eyes and ears can work in unison without the brain having to compensate for the sound not coming from where our eyes are looking.
Two d&b 16C columnloud speakers are mounted in a horizontal orientation on either side of the altar high up in the architecture so the sound can be focused on the altar area by using the narrow 40-degree dispersion of the loudspeakers horizontally. The wider 90-degree vertical coverage serves to get sound from front to back of each loudspeaker’s coverage area, and each is on its own mix so there is independent control of each zone.
Contemporary worship services usually feature seven musicians along with three vocalists utilizing ensemble of drums, bass, guitar, keyboard, and piano with the vocalists singing in harmony together. “We’re back to a regular schedule with all masses being live streamed,” states Craig Colson, Liturgy and Music. “The church is still at 30 percent (about 200 to 350) capacity due to Covid guidelines.”
Colson has been a music director for over 26 years and worked with a lot of sound systems. “This system is by far the finest system I have ever had the privilege of working with,” he says. “The clarity of the sound is unmatched and everyone in the church can hear at a balanced level regardless of where they are sitting. You can hear everything more clearly in every part of the church. No more dead spots. APAV is a wonderful company to work with.”
Father Paul White concludes, “It’s truly amazing hearing how different the sound is in the church. Both spoken word and the music got a huge upgrade. There are no more dead spots, and the total clarity is just wonderful. Before you could not hear the singers over the music but now it is like a song that is in perfect harmony.”
APAV also installed BSS processing, Crestron control, an Allen & Heath console and Shure microphones for the project.