Jacksonville, Illinois’ Church of Our Saviour, founded in 1851, houses Our Saviour School, which is the home of the Illinois School for the Deaf, so the parish is particularly sensitive to the needs of the hearing impaired. So when the octagonal brick sanctuary was remodeled, it got a sonic upgrade with Renkus-Heinz ICONYX Gen5 digitally steered line arrays, spec’ed and installed by Designed Acoustics of St. Louis.
"Since the church was built, they've fought with intelligibility of the spoken word," says Designed Acoustics president and senior engineer Kevin Tankersley. "The walls are 40 feet tall, the center peak is about 48 feet tall, and there are only a few windows on the upper edge of the walls.
“The choir is on the floor. There is no loft; it's all one level,” he adds. “As you can imagine, we had to keep the sound off the brick in this towering octagon." Designed Acoustics mounted a pair of ICONYX Gen5 IC24-RN line arrays eight feet off the floor, placed left and right behind the altar, says Tankersley. “We had to steer the beams around the altar microphone and the cantor microphone, while avoiding the brick walls."
Because the parish's Our Saviour school is the home of the Illinois School for the Deaf, Tankersley installed a Hearing Technologies ListenLoop hearing loop system, a wireless system for the hearing impaired that automatically connects to parishioners’ hearing aids.
Tankersley says combining acoustical treatment and the Renkus-Heinz arrays was key to great sound with improved intelligibility at the Church of Our Saviour. “Renkus-Heinz loudspeakers are flexible because of their precision beam shaping and steering, and when we treat the room properly, we can customize the response of the loudspeakers to address the remaining issues rather than making the loudspeakers solve all of the issues."