A recent installation by leading Canadian
is another example
of the power of ICONYX
seemingly impossible audio challenges.
The giant Basilicas of the Catholic
Church are of such a cavernous size that
the reflected acoustic energy propagated
usually makes intelligible communication
at over 25 feet effectively impossible.
Many Catholic cathedrals and churches
share architectural characteristics – very
high ceilings, boundary surfaces of stone,
glass and similarly reflective materials, an absence
of any sound absorbing materials except for the
worshippers themselves – that create exceptionally
long RT60s and equally low intelligibility. Many
other houses of worship of all denominations
pose the same set of acoustical and architectural
challenges, as do many airports, train stations
auditoriums, museums, lobbies and more.
Since sound systems were first invented, the
pro audio world has tried its best to address this
problem but to no avail. Not only has the technical
challenge to date been unresolved, every option
has usually had a hugely detrimental visual impact
on the space.
And so it proved at Notre-Dame-du-Cap Basilica
in Trois-Rivieres, at the junction of the St. Maurice
and St. Lawrence rivers between Montreal and
Architect Adrian Dufresne designed this amazing
Basilica in the 1950s, with the goal of providing a
clear sight-line for every member of the audience.
The dome towers 125 feet over the floor while
the seating comfortably accomodates a total of
1660 worshippers. A sound system was installed
comprising seven Altec-Lansing horns a side
– which are still hidden in the Basilica’s columns,
54 feet in the air.
The subsequent fitting of a textured wall covering
in some areas just before the 1964 opening ruined
the consultants’ predicted sound performance, and
the Basilica was obliged to live with the situation
until 1971, when a local contractor installed 26
Bouyer RC-20 column loudspeakers mounted on
sticks among the pews – meaning the unobstructed
sight-lines were now a thing of the past.
updated the system in 1985 with BGW
320B amplifiers and Urei 539 equalizers, and the
company has maintained the installation over the years. Sisco, in fact,
has installed sound
systems in more
than 350 churches
in the last 25 years,
specialising in churches and some of the most
acoustically challenging spaces in the country.