The Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, IL, with a main worship auditorium that rises 138-feet to the ceiling as well as ornamental concrete and crushed quartz patterns upon the internal façade, has recently received a new sound reinforcement system headed up by a Renkus-Heinz Iconyx loudspeaker with digital beam steering joined by additional components from the company.
Furthering the acoustical challenges of the space, the high ceiling is supported by 54 columns that gird the main seating area, and the room also creates nine separate alcoves of seating, each angled toward the center of the room. A single lectern sits between one section of the pillars.
While the Bahá’í faith has no clergy, members do lead daily devotionals twice a day. Also, on the first three Sundays of every month, the Baha’i house of worship choir performs, so there are times when the worshipers require live sound reinforcement.
“Iconyx allowed for us to address the seating area with better coverage and gain before feedback than the original array,” explains Erik Saari, Vice President of Sales & System Design at Sound Planning Associates, the firm that integrated the system. “The new system improved intelligibility and coverage while remaining invisible to the audience.”
The ICONYX IC24-RN is the primary loudspeaker deployed on the project, making use of the company’s proprietary digitally steerable technology that helps in focusing sound on the audience and away from reflective surfaces. The loudspeaker needed to be placed behind a curtain, directly behind the lectern.
“Using Renkus-Heinz solutions were critical here because, through the software, we were able to adjust the acoustic center to a higher point on the array,” states Aaron Johnson, the AV Consultant at Threshold Acoustics who designed the system. “This allowed us to avoid the lectern and to get much, much better coverage up close in the front row while still placing sound all the way at the back.”
The system also utilizes six Renkus-Heinz TX81 two-way Complex Conic loudspeakers to bolster coverage across the challenging alcoves. They’re concealed as well, positioned behind ornate grates that were once used by an old HVAC system.
“Having integrated many Iconyx systems over the years, I would place this project in the top five,” Saari concludes. “The client was initially concerned that the array would not cover the area; but in the end, they were impressed with the outcome. Renkus-Heinz has consistently delivered outstanding loudspeakers and dealer support for us.”