Posted in projects on August 4, 2016 2:49 pm EDT

Ramping Up Intelligibility in the Midwest

East Sunshine Christian Church in Springfield, Mo., embraces Renkus-Heinz's Iconyx Gen5 digitally steered array loudspeakers for attendees' hearing clarity.

East Sunshine Christian Church in Springfield, Mo., was spec'd Renkus-Heinz Iconyx Gen5 digitally steered array loudspeakers. Images courtesy of Renkus-Heinz.











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TAGS: acoustics, audio, audio upgrade, intelligibility,


By Church Designer Staff

Sunday services at Springfield, Mo.'s East Sunshine Christian Church are all about singing along. The church's contemporary worship style is based around four-part acapella harmonies, led by the group onstage and accompanied by anyone in the congregation who cares to join in.

East Sunshine's 1,500-seat sanctuary is big, bright, and welcoming, and Sunday services are well attended, but the church has struggled for some time with an inefficient sound system. As Worship Minister Randy Wray explains, poor sound and inconsistent coverage had an impact on the congregation. "We rely on people in the congregation being able to hear their part," Wray observes. "When it's muddled and there's no distinction, it's very hard to sing and appreciate the four-part harmony."

"It also really mattered where you sat -- some people complained they couldn't hear, and others said it was too loud."

—Randy Wray, Worship Minister, East Sunshine Christian Church, Springfield, MO

That all changed thanks to a major renovation of the sanctuary, including a new sound system featuring Renkus-Heinz Iconyx Gen5 digitally steered array loudspeakers, designed and installed by local Sensory Integration AV. Sensory President Darren Smith says the room presented some interesting challenges.

Challenges & solutions

"It's a very wide room, with a 60-foot peak in the middle and a very large rear wall," Smith begins. "The previous system really didn't provide the vocal intelligibility they needed, and coverage was very inconsistent. We've actually done multiple demos of different line arrays in this room, and could never really achieve the coverage we needed."

Wray agrees. "The best way to describe the old system was 'muffled.' There was really no intelligibility. It also really mattered where you sat -- some people complained they couldn't hear, and others said it was too loud."

Sensory Integration's solution was to create a left-center-right system using a pair of IC Live ICL-FR-N columns to the left and right of the stage and a dual IC2 array with two IC2-FR systems in the center, cut into the top of the proscenium. "The Iconyx beam steering gave us the ability to steer the sound away from the back walls, dramatically reducing reflections and increasing intelligibility. The L-C-R configuration also gave us excellent, consistent coverage -- you can sit anywhere in the auditorium and get great sound."

Wray sums up, "With the previous system, we could actually get away with weaker singers onstage. As soon as I heard the new system, my first thought was that we need to get better onstage, because people are going to hear everything."




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