The sanctuary of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the Swiss town of Brig has benefited from improved speech intelligibility, enhanced visual aesthetics and expanded multimedia options with the installation of an AV system anchored by Meyer Sound CAL™ column array loudspeakers with advanced digital beam steering technology. The system renovation was designed and installed by Stefan Margelisch of the local multimedia and system integration firm Black Cow in consultation with Meyer Sound Design Services and Tonspur, Meyer Sound’s Swiss distributor.
Suspended from the roof in the front corners, far away from the central altar, the two CAL 64 loudspeakers utilise beam steering technology to tilt sound downward and shape the vertical beam spread to fit the seating plane. Although such high placement and straight vertical orientation would not work with a conventional loudspeaker, here the beam steering technology allows the colour-matched CAL loudspeakers to blend in discreetly with no compromises in audio performance. According to church staff, the CAL system’s precise directional control, extremely low distortion and extended bandwidth have dramatically improved intelligiblity of the spoken word while maintaining a natural voice quality.
“We have noticed the overall improvement in sound reproduction and intelligibility throughout the church,” says Martin Furrer, who as sacristan is principally responsible for church operations. “The pastors are very pleased with the reaction of the congregation to the improved speech clarity. Also, with fewer loudspeakers as compared to the old system, and the exact colour match of the new columns, the visual aesthetics are dramatically improved. The view of the altar is now open and undistracted everywhere.”
The system is principally used for voice reinforcement during celebrations of the Mass, but uses for other events often involve reproduction of music program such as electric piano or playback of CDs or video soundtracks. According to Stefan Margelisch, the importance of both types of program material dictated a Meyer Sound CAL solution.
“I absolutely could not compromise on speech quality as this was a very prestigious project,” says Margelisch. “But as I had used CAL on a previous installation, I was also aware that the music quality was much better than with other beam-steering columns.”
Margelisch was also well aware that the design integrity and system calibration were as important as the product itself. “The accuracy of prediction is critically important when using this technology,” he notes, “and no other company can offer the level of expertise available from Meyer Sound. I could also rely on responsive support from Tonspur both before and after the installation.”
The complete Meyer Sound reinforcement system also includes two miniature MM-4XP loudspeakers, with one in the Chapel of Our Lady and the other in the church entryway.
The balance of the audio system comprises a Symetrix Prism 16 x 16 automixer and DSP unit, a Denon DN700C CD player, and an Ampetronic inductive loop assisted listening amplifier. The new microphone complement, all from Sennheiser, includes three MZH3042 goosenecks with ME36 capsules and an EW100 wireless system. Designed for stable, hands-free operation, the system is controlled by an HP ProOne PC with simple selection of on/off and operating mode via a remote panel. Video playback is facilitated by a Panasonic 7000 lumen projector and a three meter-wide Stumpl 16:9 format screen. Streaming of audio program is enabled via Barix Instreamer audio encoders.
Black Cow is a diversified multimedia and technology firm offering a wide range of services, including web content, music and film production, commercial AV integration, and broadcast studio installation.
Meyer Sound’s CAL column array loudspeakers achieve class-leading performance through a combination of proprietary DSP algorithms and uncompromising attention to the fundamentals of very tight driver spacing and individual processing and amplification for each driver. Meyer Sound CAL loudspeakers have the power required for outdoor sports stadium installations (Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC and Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, CA) as well as the impeccable sonics for installation in prestigious venues like the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Musikverein in Vienna.