St. Cecilia Catholic Parish, located in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, has seen its congregation grow significantly over the past 25 years. To accommodate the vibrant congregation, the parish began increasing the number of services and programs being offered. It also expanded a large outdoor, overflow seating area. But as they made changes, it quickly became clear their existing sound system wouldn’t deliver the quality, power, or control necessary to deliver the message.
The church’s main sanctuary is a large, rectangle area with additional left- and right-wing seating spaces on each side. All totaled, the indoor space seats about 1,000 – but that’s only a part of the congregation that flocks to the church. The large outdoor area accommodates even more church members than the indoor space. At least 1,000 additional parishioners bring their own portable seating and tents to enjoy the services outdoors.
The church offers three services every day, Monday through Saturday, and holds five services every Sunday. Each service features spoken word sermons and presentations, recorded music, live bands, and full choirs. The church actually has 17 different choirs who rotate through the services and programs, so as not to exhaust any one choir.
With so many large and complex gatherings, leadership at St. Cecilia turned to Inza Bamba, Managing Director at Protech Distribution, an Ivory Coast AV integration firm.
“This church is so wonderful; every service is a celebration!” said Bamba. “Music is a critical part of that celebration, and it’s important that they have the proper fidelity, sound pressure coverage, and excellent speech intelligibility both indoors and outdoors. If any part of that is lost, then the message is lost.”
Bamba said the spaces within St. Cecilia Catholic Parish presented a few issues in that internally, the ceiling height of the main sanctuary is much higher than the side wing areas. This required side coverage with a slight delay for the sound to be synchronized. Additionally, the interior of the main sanctuary has walls of windows and stained glass, which requires the audio to be steered away from to avoid reflection. Church leaders also wanted a system that had a relatively small footprint to accommodate aesthetic concerns.
Bamba quickly identified Renkus-Heinz’ new ICLive X Series system as the solution for the unique needs at St. Cecilia. The ICLive X Series from Renkus-Heinz brings a new level of flexibility for integrators and contractors to provide the best solution for any application. ICLive X is a complete system consisting of two freely combinable, steerable-array modules, the ICLX and ICLXL, and a matching subwoofer, the ICLX-118S.
Renkus-Heinz’ digital beam steering technology offers the benefit of placing sound precisely where you want it: on the audience. The result? Superior sound in any environment – whether it be a standard room, or one with many architectural peculiarities.
Bamba says the ICLive X Series’ provision of proper sound pressure level (SPL) combined with its small footprint, made it perfect for the space.
“In the main hall back wall, behind the stage, we installed two, self-powered, ICLive XL systems,” said Bamba. “Just these two speakers and their matching subs give us more than enough power and all the intelligibility we need to assure excellent quality and coverage. We run the system in stereo, and it sounds amazing.”
In regard to the windows and glass, Bamba explained that with the length of the main hall at nearly 32 meters, any sound bounce from the walls and glass would be troublesome.
“So, with the digital beam steering technology, we measured the first seat in the house and the furthest seat, and we told the speakers at what distances to start dropping the acoustic pressure to make sure the coverage was very even,” said Bamba. “We programmed in the coordinates of the distance from the first seat to the speaker, and the distance to the last person sitting, and we made adjustments for about a 29-meter throw, which was perfect for covering the back, so there is no more reflection. That’s the beauty of the steering technology.”
In addition, a set of Renkus-Heinz CX61A and CX62A compact, 2-way Complex Conic loudspeakers were installed in the sanctuary and side wing spaces as delay/fills. The C Series loudspeakers employ advanced technology and application-driven engineering to deliver a very accurate and realistic sound.
Cutting-edge driver technology and unique innovations like Complex Conic horns deliver natural sounding music and intelligible speech. Versatile enclosure designs, combined with a wide range of mounting options and associated hardware, provide unrestricted flexibility for both portable and installed applications. A large-format, environmental speaker system from One Systems was installed to cover the outdoor area.
“The church has been using the system for about four months now, and everyone is very pleased,” said Bamba. “They even gave us a round of applause and a very nice certificate of honor for a job well done. We would not have had such results without Renkus-Heinz. I look forward to many more installations with their products and technology.”