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Historic Ohio Church Upgrades Sound, Inconspicuously

Founded in 1832, St. Augustine's Catholic Church in Minster, Ohio, built its first building, a log structure, in 1835. The brick church building, built in 1848, has gone through several significant renovations, including replacement of the original, single tower with twin Gothic towers in 1874, installation of stained glass windows in 1878, and the addition of seven ceiling murals in 1866 painted by Joseph Vittur.

St. Augustine's beautiful interior is highly reverberantwell suited for its pipe organ and 78-voice choir. However, the church's acoustics have always been a challenge for voice intelligibility. So in 2012, St. Augustine's reportedly worked with Steve Merrill of Stage Right Productions in Fort Recovery, Ohio, to install a new sound reinforcement system based on Community's ENTASYS 200 loudspeakers and dSPEC Loudspeaker Processor.

"The old sound system put the sound everywhere," says Merrill. "The reverb and echoes were terrible, and I had to overcome these problems." Merrill had used Community's original ENTASYS Column Line Array on another project and knew that ENTASYS could project the sound directly to the people and keep it away from St. Augustine's rounded ceiling and hard floors. But Merrill was attracted to Community's newer ENTASYS 200 family because it offered several versatile models that he could use in different areas of the church.

Merrill chose ENTASYS 212s for the main church sanctuary and ENTASYS 203s for the front (chancel) area and the choir loft. "A single pair of ENTASYS 212s would have covered the entire sanctuary," he says, "but I put a second pair about halfway back in the church and delayed them with the dSPEC processor. The delay makes the sound system disappear." And he adds, "The sound seems to come from the lector, not the loudspeakers." The intelligibility, too, is reported to be excellent.

Merrill used existing electronics where possible to keep the cost down for the church, but he replaced older lavalier microphones with new Audio-Technica head-worn mics and added new Ashly amplifiers to power the ENTASYS 212s.

Greg Oen, lead technical volunteer at the church, says, "The (dSPEC) processor is amazing. With the delay and equalization, you don't even notice the loudspeakers. Some of the older choir members have asked me, What did you do to the sound?' because they can finally understand the message."

www.staugie.com; www.communitypro.com; www.stagerightproductions.us

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