St. Ignatius Orthodox Church has one of the most beautiful and dramatic worship spaces you'll encounter anywhere. The cross-shaped Temple is a classical Byzantine design with a large nave, side aisles and a grand dome at the nave and transept. The walls and even parts of the ceiling throughout the Temple are covered with hand-painted iconography depicting the life of Christ and Christian saints from the 1st through the 21st century. The building is literally a living work of art!
The challenge St. Ignatius presented to Strata was to improve sound intelligibility from the audio system during their services. Because the walls, ceiling, and dome are a "canvas" for icons, they are all constructed with hard surface materials. That means there is no place on any surface for traditional acoustical materials. Even the floor material is polished concrete. To say the least, the Temple is a very acoustically "live" space which made it difficult for the parishioners to clearly understand what was being said or sung.
To add to the architectural challenges, during liturgy, clergy walk throughout the space chanting, singing, and speaking. Much of the time they are directly in front of the speaker system which leads to a high potential for audio feedback.
Given all the immovable parameters, Strata recommended a unique approach to improving sound intelligibility. Tectonic's DML speakers were installed on either side of the Iconostasis at the front of the Temple. Tectonic's unique design produces a diffused sound pattern that minimizes sound interactions with the room. Translated, that means they are very resistant to feedback in a difficult acoustical environment like the Temple at St. Ignatius.
Tectonic’s wide coverage pattern means that the entire space can be covered with only 2 speakers installed just above head-height. Finally, and extremely important in such a beautiful space, the nearly flat form-factor and white finish of the speakers make them virtually invisible in the room.
To further improve the sound, Shure ULX-D wireless systems were installed with each of the clergy members wearing a bodypack and a Countryman headset mic. The choir is covered by Ace Backstage CSM mics featuring Shure cardioid elements. Sound from the choir mics is also transported via ULX-D bodypack transmitters mounted on the mic stands.
Rounding out the system is Allen & Heath's SQ-5 mixer, operated emotely via iPad, and Powersoft amplification and DSP to power the Tectonic speakers.
The new audio system has transformed the sound experience at St. Ignatius. Parishioners can now clearly hear and understand everything going on in the room. Visiting clergy, who have worshiped in Orthodox Churches the world over, regularly comment that the sound at St. Ignatius is the best they've heard!
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