Iconyx Delivers Clarity in US $3m Washington Church Upgrade

Foothill Ranch, CA | May, 2010 - A Renkus-Heinz Iconyx Digitally Beam Steerable loudspeaker system, installed by CTSI, has been chosen as the audio centerpiece of a $3 million renovation of the venerable Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church in Washington, DC.

Founded in 1852, the church has been part of the nation’s capitol for over 150 years and moved to its current Gothic stone building in 1930. In 2006, the church embarked on the restoration of its magnificent landmark building. The setting of a new steeple gives passersby a clearly visible sign that the cooperative parish of Metropolitan Memorial and St. Luke’s is a vital community.

Inside, the focus was on new audio and video systems that would help the church reach out through a wide range of ministries and worship services. Arts and music are a major focus, ranging from a ballet studio and liturgical dance to the Metro Players theatrical troupe and three choirs. While the congregation is happy to take on tasks such as embroidering a 10 by 25 foot dossal cloth behind the altar (its predecessor had been there so long that it disintegrated when it was taken down for cleaning), the church turned to outside professionals for help with audiovisual technology: Corbett Technology Solutions Inc. (CTSI) of Chantilly, Virginia, a D.C. suburb.

Although this project was not particularly large by CTSI standards, it did present unique challenges, including the classic conundrum of enhancing the acoustics of a stone and glass interior while preserving the traditional architecture.

CTSI’s engineers knew they had a solution to that problem, and they illustrated it with EASE models of how Iconyx arrays would perform inside the walls of Metropolitan United. "The designers realized the benefits of our proposal," CTSI Senior Vice President Gino Ruta recalls, "which was to go with an advanced digitally steerable array: Renkus-Heinz ICONYX." The basic IC8 array contains eight full-range, high performance coaxial transducers, each individually controlled by its own digital amplifier and programmable digital signal processor (DSP). IC8’s can be combined in the field to form taller arrays: IC16’s, IC24’s and IC32’s. In addition to being louder, the taller arrays can generate more beams of sound energy and control them at lower frequencies.

CTSI proposed two IC24’s, two IC16’s and two IC8’s attached to columns just in front of the altar, midway through the sanctuary and almost at the back. The larger arrays cover the main floor of the sanctuary, while the IC8’s provide fill coverage to an overflow loft above the church entrance. CTSI retained the existing mixing console and used a BSS BLU-16 to process the signal distributed to the six self-powered ICONYX arrays via a Sony Anycast Station. Primarily designed as a compact location-video switcher, the Anycast Station is also used integrate Sony video cameras, Extron switching and Communication Specialties Fiberlink transmitters and receivers.

The transition to digital audio distribution and digitally steered arrays prompted a dramatic reaction from the client. Their first experience of the new sound system was one of "jaw dropping satisfaction," according to Ruta.