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Historic St. Augustine’s Church Upgrades its Audio with Community ENTASYS and dSPEC

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, painted by Joseph Vittur, in 1866.

St. Augustine’s beautiful interior is highly reverberant which is well 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 worked with Steve Merrill of Stage Right Productions 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,” said 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 off of 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 said, “but I put a second pair about half-way back in the church and delayed them with the dSPEC processor. Now, the sound is great everywhere. The intelligibility is excellent and you can even hear breath noises!” Merrill put the Entasys 203s on a 70-volt amplifier and used dSPEC to delay the pair covering the choir loft. “The delay makes the sound system disappear,” he said. “The sound seems to come from the lector, not the loudspeakers.”

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 said “The (dSPEC) processor is amazing. With the delay and equalization, you don’t even notice the loudspeakers.” Oen continued, “some of the older choir members have asked me ‘what did you do to the sound?’ because they can finally understand the message.

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