The small market town of Cirencester, England is home to one of the biggest parish churches in the country: St. John the Baptist, where community members find their home the second they step through the 12-century, cathedral-style doors. The church, while visually appealing, doesn’t come without acoustic challenges. Striking stained glass windows and wooden pews lining the space create ample opportunities for reverberation and muffled audio. To overcome these challenges, the church turned to Renkus-Heinz for the sound solution to fit its needs.
Together with UK-based supplier CUK Group, Staffordshire-based event and installation specialist Novum Audio Visual worked to specify and install three Renkus-Heinz ICC36/3 column arrays from the US manufacturer’s Iconyx Compact line. As a result of Novum’s work, 12 unsightly box speakers were removed from the white limestone columns of the 600-year-old nave and its associated cabling. The Diocesan architect, along with the church, was delighted with this visual improvement. This was CUK’s first installation of Renkus-Heinz products after taking over distribution of the industry-leading brand.
The ICC36/3 comes equipped with a 36-channel digital amplifier, powering the array’s 36 three-inch, full-range, high-sensitivity drivers. With an amplifier and DSP channel for each driver, the Iconyx Compact loudspeakers are designed to custom-tailor the asymmetrical beam of sound needed for each space. Each column is 3m in length, enabling directional control from 150Hz and full steerability from 300Hz and above.
“The ICC36/3 column arrays were the perfect solution for St. John the Baptist. The design of the arrays goes a long way to ensuring low frequencies do not add excessive amounts of reverberation,” said James Lawford, live sound channel manager at CUK. “By keeping sound off the ceiling and preventing a reduction in speech intelligibility, we can ensure every congregation member can hear every word spoken and sung no matter where they are seated.”
Church leadership was concerned with architectural integrity from the beginning and aimed for as little visual impact as possible. Novum Audio Visual utilized a color scanner to match the nuanced tones of the stone architecture to a RAL color code in order to custom-paint the loudspeakers and blend them into the background. The ICC36/3 column arrays deliver impeccable sound to the congregation without any architectural intrusion.
“The ICC36/3 column arrays blend in flawlessly with the church’s intricate architecture. The main comment from visitors is ‘where’s the sound coming from?’ This church is the heart of the community, they deserved this,” reflects Stuart Madden, sales and logistics at Novum, “with people flowing in and out every day. That’s why it was so important to achieve a sound system that captures everything that’s going on as accurately as possible.”
“Outstanding,” added Madden. “I’m often skeptical about new shiny things, but when you hear for yourself how accurate the coverage is, and how much control you have across the full bandwidth, you’re soon convinced. You can stand at the front, or 25m back, and the SPL is the same. We already have two more projects in mind that would be perfect for this solution.”