A unique indoor/outdoor sanctuary at St. Cecilia Catholic Parish in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, has been outfitted with new sound reinforcement capabilities headed by Renkus-Heinz ICLive X Series loudspeakers implemented by Protech Distribution, an Ivory Coast AV integration firm.
The main portion of the sanctuary is a large, rectangle area with additional left- and right-wing seating spaces on each side, with seating for about 1,000. A large outdoor area behind the seating can accommodate at least 1,000 more parishioners who bring their own portable seating and tents to enjoy the services outdoors.
The church offers three services every day, Monday through Saturday, and holds five services every Sunday. Each service includes spoken word sermons and presentations, recorded music, live bands, and choirs. The church actually has 17 different choirs that rotate through the services and programs.
“This church is so wonderful; every service is a celebration!” says Inza Bamba, managing director at Protech Distribution. “Music is a critical part of that celebration, and it’s important that they have the proper fidelity, sound pressure coverage, and excellent speech intelligibility both indoors and outdoors. If any part of that is lost, then the message is lost.”
Bamba explains the spaces present challenges; internally, the ceiling height of the main sanctuary is much higher than the side wing areas, requiring side coverage with a slight delay for the sound to be synchronized. Additionally, the interior of the main sanctuary has walls of windows and stained glass, meaning that audioneeds to be steered away from to avoid reflection. Church leaders also wanted a system that had a relatively small footprint to accommodate aesthetic concerns.
In light of those factors in addition to the desire for commensurate sonic quality, Bamba identified Renkus-Heinz’ ICLive X Series as key to the project. ICLive X is comprised of two combinable, steerable-array modules, the ICLX and ICLXL, and a matching subwoofer, the ICLX-118S, with proprietary digital beam steering technology offering the benefit of helping to direct output on the audience and off of reflective surfaces.
“In the main hall back wall, behind the stage, we installed two, self-powered, ICLive XL systems,” says Bamba. “Just these two speakers and their matching subs give us more than enough power and all the intelligibility we need to assure excellent quality and coverage. We run the system in stereo, and it sounds amazing.”
In regard to the windows and glass, Bamba adds that with the length of the main hall at nearly 32 meters, any sound bounce from the walls and glass would be troublesome: “So, with the digital beam steering technology, we measured the first seat in the house and the furthest seat, and we told the speakers at what distances to start dropping the acoustic pressure to make sure the coverage was very even, We programmed in the coordinates of the distance from the first seat to the speaker, and the distance to the last person sitting, and we made adjustments for about a 29-meter throw, which was perfect for covering the back, so there is no more reflection. That’s the beauty of the steering technology.”
In addition, a set of Renkus-Heinz CX61A and CX62A compact, 2-way Complex Conic loudspeakers were installed in the sanctuary and side wing spaces as delay/fills.
“The church has been using the system for about four months now, and everyone is very pleased,” Bamba concludes. “They even gave us a round of applause and a very nice certificate of honor for a job well done. We would not have had such results without Renkus-Heinz. I look forward to many more installations with their products and technology.”