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Immaculate Heart of Mary

Highly reverberant Catholic sanctuary finds clarity and fidelity in Innovox

The Minnetonka campus of Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) is composed of the church itself, built in 1960, and the attached Notre Dame Academy regional Catholic school. Business Administrator Kelly Dennehy contacted AVE's Chace Reimer in the fall of 2023. Following the failure of their aging sound reinforcement system, the church had been limping along with a temporary, tripod-mounted pair of powered loudspeakers for far too long. Most importantly, neither system was effective at reinforcing speech, which was its primary purpose.

The space itself, though beautiful, was highly reverberant, with a nearly symmetrical box-shape, stone floors and walls, and lots of floor-to-ceiling windows. Achieving intelligibility in such acoustically hostile spaces is especially difficult.

Ultimately, the solution was found locally, at St. Paul's Innovox Audio, manufacturers of high performance, high intelligibility loudspeaker systems. Especially effective in traditional worship environments where reverb times are high and unobtrusive, inconspicuous installation is a priority, Innovox's curvilinear line arrays surgically project the acoustic energy only where required, keeping the direct to reflected sound ratio to a maximum. AVE worked with Innovox to design a system consisting of two primary arrays, each with an additional low frequency extension to the left and right of the altar area. Then, an "articulation array" of four smaller CLA array speakers extended out into the congregation and properly delayed, provides an additional boost to those sound frequencies most important for speech.

"This is the first time I've heard Fr. John's homily .... EVER!" "I could understand all the words the Cantor/choir sang!" - Comments from first Mass with new system.

The system is amplified and controlled via QSC network amplifiers and a Q-Sys DSP/Controller with a custom control interface via a desk mount touchpad. As IHM conducts masses daily, control needed to be somewhat automated and easy for volunteers to control. AVE also added a pair of Martin Audio Adorn 55 surface mount speakers to the lobby area and three channels of Shure QLXD wireless microphones. The wireless coverage was exended via additional antenna's into the gathering areas and the school's gymnasium, allowing the Father to roam freely outside the sanctuary while speaking.

Another unique addition was the Shure's MXA710 linear array system, bringing proprietary DSP sound focusing technology to the altar while providing a much cleaner look.

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