Pacific Palisades, CA--Nestled in the rolling canyons of Pacific Palisades, Saint Matthew's Episcopal Church is one of the area's oldest and largest parishes. The 42-acre grounds are home to multiple buildings including St. Matthew's Day School and Pre-School, as well as recreational facilities and the Moore Ruble Yudell-designed sanctuary.
The sanctuary's stunning architecture, with its soaring ceilings and exquisite glass work, has long suffered from problematic acoustics. As Daniel Bae, project manager for Sierra Madre-based Platt Design Group, explains, the room's previous systems did little to alleviate issues of intelligibility and poor sound distribution.
"A lot of the complaints about the previous systems had to do with speech intelligibility and coverage," Bae said. "The room isn't very deep, but it is very wide, so time alignment was a major problem."
"When the sanctuary was first built, we had two speakers on the ceiling," said Jeremias Mendez, the church's Plant Manager for more than 30 years. "One side of the room was completely dead - people were only able to hear the sermon from a few seats."
"It's my understanding that the sanctuary's architecture was designed to make the most of the choir and organ, and not the sermons," said parishioner Jim Dutka, the project leader behind the drive to upgrade the church's audio system.
Dutka and company contacted Platt Design Group, who recommended a pair of Renkus-Heinz Iconyx IC-Live steerable arrays, one on either side of the proscenium. "The IC-Live enabled us to steer the sound where it needed to go - away from the walls and reflective surfaces and into the seats."
Not surprisingly, aesthetics was also a major concern. "Renkus-Heinz provided custom paint for the IC-Live cabinets, helping them to blend almost invisibly into the sanctuary's beautiful architecture," said Bae.
"We have a number of older parishioners who have traditionally relied on hearing-assisted technology systems every week," Dutka saids. "Since we've installed the new system, many of them have come to us and informed us that they no longer need the assisted listening."
"Platt Designs and Renkus-Heinz have provided us with a tremendous improvement," Mendez agreed.
"I'm proud to say we now have one of the finest audio systems in the area," Dutka said.