Renkus-Heinz Delivers Heavenly Sound at St. Mary Catholic Church

The parishioners of St. Mary Catholic Church excitedly gathered in February 2017 to dedicate their brand-new building in the small town of Woolmarket, a dozen miles northwest of Biloxi, Mississippi. Many times the size of St. Mary’s previous sanctuary, the new church features a peaked ceiling with an assortment of angles as well as alcoves, wooden pews and statuary. It’s a beautiful church fully worthy of all the excitement.

However, with its many reflective surfaces, the new sanctuary is acoustically live. Furthermore, mass at St. Mary can include music ranging from traditional piano, organ and choir to acoustic guitars to full contemporary electric band with drums. That makes the sanctuary a challenging acoustic environment, yet the church’s new Renkus-Heinz ICONYX sound system delivers crystal clear and intelligible sound to every pew.

“Without Renkus-Heinz ICONYX loudspeakers, we could not have provided such clear audio,” offers Rain Jaudon of Magnolia Music’s Audio Video Install Service (A.V.I.S.) division, which designed and installed the system. “We chose a pair of ICONYX IC24-RN digitally steerable line arrays for several reasons. For one, point-source speakers would not have been as effective as steerable beam arrays. In addition, there was no way to mount multiple point-source speakers from the ceiling or flush-mount them in the side walls.”

Each ICONYX IC24-RN array includes 24 4-inch coaxial transducers, each with three high-frequency tweeters, along with 24 amplifier and DSP channels. Beam control is effective down to 250 Hz, with up to 12 beams and multiple acoustic beam centres that enabled the precise sound placement required for St. Mary’s sanctuary. The church’s sound system is managed with a Biamp TesiraFORTÉ AI DSP and Tesira TEC-1 wall controls.

“With a Renkus-Heinz ICONYX IC24-RN digitally steerable line array mounted on each side of the platform, behind the altar, we were able to precisely steer the audio over the microphones and directly on the pews, while minimising interaction with the ceiling and walls,” Rain explains. “This provided us with nice levels of gain before feedback even for the boundary microphone on the altar. We could not have accomplished that without beam steering.”

Another major benefit of using ICONYX loudspeakers was that the IC24-RN has a slim, low-profile design and Renkus-Heinz was able to colour-match them to the soft, sky blue tone of St. Mary’s altar area. “The architect initially wasn’t entirely onboard with using ICONYX,” Rain admits, “but once the IC24-RNs were paint-matched and installed, everything was great. The arrays visually blend into the upstage wall so you hardly notice them.”

To handle the sub-lows, Jaudon and system co-designer Tony Strong chose a Renkus-Heinz PN212-SUB subwoofer which combines dual heavy-duty 12-inch woofers and a Renkus-Heinz PN-1 Class A/B PowerNet amplifier with loudspeaker-specific signal processing. The two woofers feature long-throw magnetic structures and dual channel air cooling for high-impact sub-bass performance of up to 134 dB peak SPL. The amps have eight bands of parametric EQ, high and low shelving filters, delay and input level control, as well as monitoring, automatic alert, and protection features.

“The PN212-SUB is flush-mounted inside the choir storage closet, and as with the IC24-RN, you don’t notice it,” observes Rain. “The IC24-RN and PN212-SUB combination easily handles all of the church’s sound requirements, including excellent intelligibility for spoken word; low-end power and richness for drums, bass, organ and piano replete with outstanding overall clarity from top to bottom.”

“We were pleased that the church leadership followed our recommendations for a full ICONYX IC24-RN system,” Rain opines. “That enabled us to deliver everything they wanted sonically and visually and to conclude they are extremely pleased with the results. The fact is, Renkus-Heinz ICONYX was our only choice.”