Since its founding in 1891, Holy Spirit Catholic Church has held a special place in the hearts of Philadelphia-area residents. In the early years of the twentieth century, the church forged a reputation as one of the few non-segregated churches and parochial schools in the region.
Dedicated in 1961, Holy Spirit's current sanctuary is a unique and welcoming space, resplendent with ornate woodcarvings, wrought iron, and magnificent stained glass, including perhaps one of the only works commemorating John Fitzgerald Kennedy's inauguration as the country's first Catholic president.
But the same elements that make the sanctuary so beautiful to behold also make it a rather acoustically challenging space. As Tony Albano of Avondale, PA-based Naamans Creek Audio Video explains, the room's configuration is anything but ordinary.
"It's a very different type of room," said Albano. "The chapel itself is surrounded by smaller sub-chapels. The walls are largely brick, and the ceiling is about 30 feet high at its peak. It's a complex space, and very reflective, and they've always had problems with intelligibility."
To address the room's sonic issues, Albano designed an audio system comprising four Community ENTASYS column line array loudspeakers. Two more ENTASYS columns provide delay toward the back of the room. A Crown CTS-4200 four-channel amplifier drives the system, with Rane RPM-88 providing system DSP.
"Their previous system had been pretty problematic," Albano said. "Parishioners complained about loud volume but low intelligibility, particularly along the center seating areas. The ENTASYS columns were the ideal solution for focusing the sound away from the walls and windows and into the seating area where it belongs. Several of the church's long-time parishioners have said that it's the first time they could actually understand the priest's sermon."