St. Patrick Church
Torrence Sound used Renkus-Heinz ICONYX Digitally Steerable Array technology to help another famous house of worship satisfy the demands of modern-day audiences for clarity and intelligibility in an acoustically challenging space – in this case, the Historic Church of St. Patrick in Toledo, Ohio.
“The Historic Church of St. Patrick was originally built in 1892 so that workers on the Erie Canal could attend Mass on Sundays,” explains Don Beyer of Torrence Sound Equipment Company, the firm responsible for transforming the church’s audio presentation.
He added: “During the 1970s and 80s, like many other Midwest cities, Toledo lost a lot of manufacturing jobs, and the neighborhood suffered. But the building is a historic landmark, and the diocese decided to revitalize the church with an extensive outreach program to the Catholic community in greater Toledo. We were called in to upgrade the sound system.”
Torrence Sound has a longstanding relationship with St. Patrick’s, and had installed the previous system: “state of the art at the time,” he recalls. But with the newly-renovated cathedral drawing worshippers from affluent neighborhoods around Toledo, it was time to bring intelligibility and musicality up to a higher standard that would complement the meticulously restored interior, the new organ, and the dramatic exterior lighting that makes the cathedral a landmark on Interstate 75, the main highway through town.
As with many historic buildings, it’s the architecture that makes St. Patrick’s such an attractive place to worship. But in a neo-Gothic building with a capacity of 1000, “the long reverb time made for very low intelligibility,” Beyer points out.
ICONYX technology from Renkus-Heinz enabled Torrence Sound to provide enhanced intelligibility and musical support for the choir without compromising the historic interior of St. Patrick’s. After Torrence engineering department produced drawings and an EASE model of the church, we recommended two IC24 Digitally Steerable Arrays in order to deal with the very large interior volume – the building is 180 feet long, with 65 foot ceilings. These columnar arrays are almost 10 feet tall, but only 6 inches wide. The digital beam steering allows us to mount the arrays flush to the wall, but aim the acoustic output at the congregation and keep it off the walls and ceilings.”
The wide 140° horizontal coverage of the Iconyx arrays allows just two IC24s to cover the entire main seating area, providing clear communication and enjoyable music to all 1000 members of St. Patrick’s congregation.
Torrence Sound worked with the Church of St. Patrick to make the new system as cost-effective as possible. Some of the 8-inch two-way speakers from the previous installation were moved to cover the balcony and choir riser. The Crown amplifiers that power these speakers were also repurposed, along with a Crown UMS-810 processor and an 8-channel submixer that is used for the choir microphones.
Down on the podium, Torrence Sound installed three EV PolarChoice microphones, and provided a Countryman E6 head worn microphone with a Sennheiser EW100 wireless system so that celebrants can move around the alter while still being clearly heard and understood by the congregation.
The Historic Church of St. Patrick was fully restored in September 2007, when a “Sky-Breaking” ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of a new steeple. Restoring the profile of this church was the culmination of more than two decades of effort by the Society for the Preservation of the Historic Church of St. Patrick, founded in 1984 by the Reverend John A. Thomas, and by parish volunteers.