Whitinsville, MA (November 22, 2005)–During a renovation at St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s Church in Escanaba, MI more than 10 years ago, painters applied semi-gloss to acoustical tiles covering the interior walls. As a result, the paint sealed the surface and permanently transformed the original sound-absorbing tiles into a hard, reflective surface. Those problems were recently finally solved in part due to new EAW DSA series loudspeakers which were installed in the church.
“We were getting so many complaints about the sound, and we were losing members and visitors because they couldn’t hear,” recalled parishioner Matt Sviland. “This is one of the area’s biggest and most glorious churches. We simply had to fix the sound, but we had to find expertise in church audio–and that’s a fairly specialized skill that you don’t run across much on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.”
A visiting colleague told the church pastor about his own positive experience with Eagle Communication of Ferndale, MI, some eight hours away. Sviland then contacted Eagle and described the church’s unfortunate problem to principal and co-owner Tony Rogalski. Having installed systems in more than 1,200 churches, Rogalski felt that EAW’s DSA Series loudspeakers would be the solution for St. Joseph’s and St. Patrick’s Church.
Explained Rogalski, “With hard surfaces like marble, wood and stained glass, old churches frequently battle reverberation when it comes to the spoken word. At the same time, these same churches often reject traditional damping methods, such as acoustic paneling, because they don’t want to cover or in any way mar the traditional and well-loved aesthetic of the old buildings.”
Convinced it was the same challenge, Rogalski recommended EAW’s DSA Series line arrays and engaged Sviland’s assistance in collecting valuable information about the church, such as its floor plan with dimensions, surface types, and its existing sound equipment, as well as some good quality digital photos.
Sviland and Rogalski arranged for an on-site demo at the church using loaner equipment from the local EAW representative. Eagle’s technical manager, Steve Clark, made the eight-hour trek north to Escanaba and set up the equipment for a weekend demo. “After years of buying inexpensive equipment through a local music store, we didn’t know what to expect from a high-level system recommended by people who really know church sound,” Sviland said. “But once Steve got the DSA demo up and running, it was amazing how quickly and easily we authorized the purchase. The spoken word was clear throughout the room, and the music sounded glorious. Eagle picked exactly the right solution for our church.”
Within just a few weeks of the demo, Eagle sent two technicians back to Escanaba to install a pair of DSA250 line arrays painted to match the front columns where they were mounted. While existing speakers worked well enough for overflow areas and chancel monitors, Eagle upgraded the console to an Allen & Heath MixWizard 16:2DX, and a dbx Drive Rack PA for additional equalization in areas not covered by the DSA speakers. A new Shure ULXP 14 UHF wireless body pack system and Countryman E6 headset mic were also provided for the pastor.