Alpha Sound’s reputation for designing and installing NEXO systems that bring clear, intelligible sound to traditional and historic liturgical spaces continues to spread as news arrives of the Salem, OR-based company’s latest work across the country in Greenville, South Carolina.
Following successful installations at St Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland and, more recently, at the Mount Angel Abbey monastery in St. Benedict, Oregon, governors of Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church and School invited Alpha’s lead engineer Devin Sheets out to Greenville to evaluate a sound system that had proved unsatisfactory since being installed when the church was built back in 2016, and advise on how it could be improved.
“The existing system wasn’t performing well at all” reports Devin. “Speech at the back of the church was completely unintelligible and there were numerous dead spots in the coverage.”
In a traditional building design full of hard surfaces, and with a line array, large speakers or additional acoustic treatments ruled out on aesthetic grounds, Sheets quickly concluded that there was only one loudspeaker system appropriate for the job.
“We refer to the NEXO ID84 as a column speaker, but it’s really a totally unique loudspeaker in concept. It provides the coverage characteristics of a small line array with the smooth HF response that brings extraordinary clarity to the spoken word, all in a form factor that fits perfectly into these types of spaces. There’s really nothing else like it on the market and only with the surety of knowing how well it performs could we be confident in achieving a dramatic improvement in sound at OLR.”
The system comprises a pair of ID84s shooting down the length of the church, with ultra-compact ID14s mounted immediately below to shade in coverage at the front. ID24s are hidden in custom-built plant stands either side of the alter to cover the area in front of the main system, and ID14s are used in the transepts and two per side into the aisles, with the second pair on delays. ID14s are also used in the choir loft with additional ID24s on the rear wall, facing the congregation. All cabinets are custom painted to match the cream-coloured stonework, and amplification and processing come from NEXO’s compact NXAMP powered controllers.
“There was a feeling at the church that sound was always going to be a problem in a large, high-ceiling, reverberant space like theirs” says Sheets. “Of course, it’s a challenge, but the new ID84-based system delivers that perfect combination of even coverage, clear intelligibility, ease of use and low visual impact.”
Commenting on the new NEXO system, Fr Dwight Longenecker, Pastor, Our Lady of the Rosary, would appear to agree. “The transformation of our sound system at Our Lady of the Rosary, Greenville, SC has seemed miraculous. We were struggling with the tricky combination of a hard acoustic in a large church. This was good for music but challenging for the spoken word. The guys from Alpha Sound solved the problem and our folks are thrilled to be able to enjoy fine sacred music and also hear the Word of God clearly.”
For further information on Alpha Sound, visit: alphasound.tech