19th Century church catches up to the modern age with new sound system

Framingham, MA (January 22, 2019)—“Churches of this type have both acoustical and aesthetic challenges that sound systems have to address,” said Whitaker Brothers North founder and president Kevin Whitaker, Sr., referring to the inside of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Moorestown, NJ.

Built in the 19th century, the church building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and sports the soaring ceilings supported by tall pillars that were often common back in that era. As a distinctive part of the modern world, however, the church has to reflect some modern needs—like ADA-compliant access ramps—and that recently led to a large building renovation project that also includes a new sound system.

AV systems integrator Whitaker Brothers North was brought in to design and install the system. “Churches of this type have both acoustical and aesthetic challenges that sound systems have to address,” said Whitaker Brothers North founder and president Kevin Whitaker, Sr. “They need to address speech intelligibility but also need to do so without impeding sightlines or taking away from the design of the church. There aren’t many sound systems that can do all of that.”

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Kevin Whitaker, Jr., the founder’s son and the company’s Operations Manager, concurred, noting, “Speech intelligibility had been a problem for some time, as had achieving even coverage. The existing sound system is 12 years old, and there were substantial gaps in its coverage, front to back and left to right.”

The company ultimately opted to replace the system with a new Bose Professional Panaray MSA12X self-powered digital beam-steering loudspeaker as its core solution, supported by Bose’ FreeSpace speakers and ControlSpace processors. Installation and on-site management was provided by Whitaker Brothers’ long-term senior tech, Doug Taylor.

Seven of the MSA12X loudspeakers are mounted on the columns of the church, six facing the congregation and one on the reverse side of a front column, acting as a regional monitor for everyone on the altar. They are managed by a ControlSpace ESP-1240 processor that is controlled through a ControlSpace CC-64 wall-mounted control center.

The choir loft in the rear of the church, too, now has its own sound system, with a pair of Panaray 402 Series IV full-range-driver arrays powered by a PowerShare PS602 amplifier installed as a separate choir PA; a pair of Bose FreeSpace DS-16 loudspeakers are used as monitors for the choir.

In the choir loft, the Bose Panaray 402 arrays now bring the vocalists’ performances to every corner of the sanctuary. “The placement of the 402 speakers really provided the kind of localization that the choir needed,” says Kevin Sr. “Before, the choir could get lost in the overall reverberation of the church, which could be disorienting. Now, the sound is balanced. The first week the new choir system was installed, the congregation turned around and gave the choir a standing ovation.”

BoseProfessional • pro.bose.com