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Cairo’s St. Therese Basilica Gets Mackie HDA

Cairo, Egypt , February 2014…With more than 22 million inhabitants, the city of Cairo is rich in history and culture. In a region renowned as the birthplace of most of today’s religions, the sprawling metropolis on the banks of the Nile River is dotted with mosques, cathedrals, and houses of worship large and small.

The Basilica of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus is one of the more remarkable Catholic churches in the region. Named for one of the church’s early French missionaries, the Basilica is a massive Byzantine style structure adorned with Arabic-Egyptian ornamentation. Constructed in 1939, it served for many years as a stopover for missionaries on their way to the East. Today, it attracts a great number of visitors, many of them foreign tourists.

As with many of the grand basilicas, the room’s acoustics have long been a challenge. Soaring walls, marble floors, wooden pews, and a massive 80-foot (25 meter) high dome ringed with windows are just the beginning of a highly reflective environment that makes intelligibility nearly impossible. The walls of the church are decorated with an ornate mosaic which, while beautiful to behold, only adds to the reflectivity of the space.

Egyptian audio distributors Al Fanny Trading were called in to help solve the Basilica’s sonic challenges, and installed a system based around four of Mackie’s HDA two-way arrayable powered loudspeakers. As Al Fanny’s Rami Saad explains, the church’s previous system was simply not up to the task.

“They had a system of ten speakers installed on the columns, but the sound quality was very poor,” Saad says. “People could not understand the sermon, and the balance between the choir and the spoken word was very poor.”

Saad says the HDA system was selected not just for its power, but for its pattern control. “It was no problem to find speakers that were loud, or speakers with good sound quality,” he explains. “The challenge was to find speakers that could direct the sound toward the people, not toward the walls. The HDA speakers did exactly that, and very well.”

The choir area has been equipped with several SRM450v2 loudspeakers for monitoring. “The choir are standing higher on a platform, and the sound coming out of the main speakers didn’t really provide them with enough coverage,” says Saad. “The SRM speakers are a great solution.”

As the final piece to the sound system, Al Fanny installed a Mackie Onyx 24.4-Bus console. “The Onyx console sounds wonderful — very clean and clear,” says Saad. “The system has made a big difference for them already, and everyone is very pleased.”

 

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