Foothill Ranch, CA | April, 2009 - The Vietnamese Martyr’s Catholic Church (VMCC), built Americans, has installed a Renkus-Heinz ICONYX digitally steerable audio system to bring a new clarity to its 900 seat sanctuary, with CFX121 system covering the Great Hall that’s used as an overflow area for larger meetings and performances.
VMCC turned to full-spectrum AV systems integrator Quality Sound of Stockton, California for the audio systems. "ICONYX was my go-to choice from the first look at the project plans," says Gary Roda, Quality Sound’s house of worship expert. "Its balance of performance and aesthetic appeal is unique."
ICONYX’s ability to focus sound precisely was Roda’s answer to the complex shape and reflective materials at VMCC. The large, nearly square nave with a sloped t-bar ceiling has a large open clerestory above the presbytery. Materials include a massive solid granite altar, ambo fixtures imported from Vietnam, an all-glass sidewall, polished marble floors and hardwood pews.
Behind the rear wall, also largely glass, is the Great Hall, 25% larger than the church proper, used as overflow seating or separately for meetings or performances.
Speech intelligibility was Roda’s number one concern, given the language characteristics and room conditions. The system also had to handle the wishes of the church’s more traditional elements alongside those of a strong younger contingent that expects rock music performance levels.
The church choir often performs with full-range contemporary music accompaniment, directly in front of the loudspeakers. "Choosing a loudspeaker design that would meet the performance goals and also suit the Sanctuary aesthetics would have been tough without ICONYX," says Roda.
To combine high output with precise directional control, Quality Sound mounted two ICONYX IC24 arrays on the walls flanking the altar. Their wide (140° horizontal) output provides even coverage of the nave, and the tight vertical pattern control steers the sound over and past the multiple choir mics located close by.
Two ceiling-mounted PN212-SUB subwoofers supply the low-end impact that the younger members of the congregation enjoy. "The subs are configured as a central cardioid array," Roda says, "to focus the sub-bass reinforcement into the nave and avoid exciting the clerestory space. We continue to be impressed by the very ‘musical’ full-range punch of the ICONYX/PNX212-SUB combination."
Two CFX121M floor monitors powered by a QSC CX503 amplifier supply foldback to the choir and other performers. One channel of a QSC ISA 500ti amp drives a pair of wall-mounted CFX121 trapezoidal cabinets that cover the overflow area in the Great Hall, while the other drives a distributed ceiling speaker system in the Side Chapel.
Other equipment includes a Biamp D60EQ foldback amplifier, Listen Technologies assisted listening, and a Midas Venice 320 mixing Shure ULXP wireless with Countryman E6 earset mics, live instruments through Countryman Type 85 DI’s, and Ace Backstage Choir Stick microphones with Shure MX elements and a TC Electronics processor. With so many possible room configurations and events, easily recalled presets were a must. Roda programmed these into Biamp Nexia digital processors.
"We can configure the system for various uses including unattended automixing of oft-used microphones at the touch of a button," he explains.
A multitude of highly reflective hard surfaces, a giant standing-wave generator above the altar, a multi-generational congregation and a choir that likes to stand in front of the speakers – on paper, VCMC sounds like a recipe for sonic disaster. That this project turned out so well is testament to the design skills of Gary Roda and Quality Sound, and Iconyx technology.