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Case Study: Cathedral of the Holy Cross, New England

As the largest church in New England, Cathedral of the Holy Cross has long served as the “Mother Church” for Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston. Since its dedication in 1875, the structure’s Upper Church has received relatively little refurbishment — until crews began an extensive renovation project of the 150-year-old Gothic revival structure. This project included a full-scale overhaul of the Cathedral’s sound system, with a deadline of April 19, of this year, when the renovation debuted to over 30 million viewers worldwide via CatholicTV’s broadcast of the Chrism Mass from the venerable—and restored—Cathedral. Evan Landry, CTO and President of Landry Audio Division, Commlink Integration Corporation, designed the new sound system around a custom unit based on a column of two Innovox MicroBeam 32 line array units, employing Powersoft’s D-Cell 504 2/4-channel amp modules with onboard DSP. This supports the dipole spaced low frequency section and processed line level outputs used with the system.

The steerable line array uses 26 active mid-/ low-frequency elements (2.75-inch cone drivers), which are powered by the Powersoft modules, and 26 high-frequency elements (3.25-inch ribbon drivers). “Virtually everything Innovox does uses either ribbon or AMT [Air Motion Transformer]-type high-frequency elements,” said Chris Oswood, owner of Innovox Audio. “We do that to keep the transient information present, and to optimize for speech clarify—but it has a corollary benefit, which is clarity and detail in musical reproduction.

To carry the sound through the 200 feet from the chancel to the nave, Landry and Oswood installed 18 additional Innovox line arrays— one for each of the support columns. Each of these support speakers, plus an additional five channels of monitors, plus another speaker acting as a mirror of the two main chancel arrays, are supported with Powersoft Ottocanali 1204 amps.

“We knew that we needed one discreet channel per speaker in the column, because we needed to have them appropriately delayed from the perspective of the focal MircoBeam in the chancel,” Landry said. Each column had to have unique delay times, so channel count was high, and power relatively low since the column speakers were just used for articulation extension. “The Ottocanali 1204 had the right combination of high channel count and lower power channels, while maintaining the high sound quality we needed.”

DSP set up was completed with Powersoft’s Armonía software platform.

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