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Solomon Awards 2019 – Our Lady of Mercy (Design and Installation of Audio System or Sound Reinforcement)

Our Lady of Mercy, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is a multicultural community parish that strives to live the gospel through action, education and service to those in need. For nearly 60 years, Our Lady of Mercy has welcomed members from all different parts of the United States and from more than ten different countries.

When Our Lady of Mercy reached out to the AE Global Media team, the church had major intelligibility issues with the spoken word. The sanctuary also provided a challenge in that it was a fan-shaped room; semicircular seating in a rectangle space. This room had a very long decay and reverberation time of more than three seconds.

Another challenge for the AE Global Media team was that the parish also has seven different services that worship in the same space. This meant that sound settings for each different worship style and band needed its own identity and feel.

The church originally wanted an acoustical treatment, but by working with the design and engineering team at AE, a plan for upgrading their PA to a d&b audiotechnik system could solve many of their current problems and would be more cost effective.

The first item the engineering team addressed was the speaker layout. Lead engineer Paul Drenth devised an over under speaker hang design using the d&b audiotechnik Y-Series with a vertical point source array, set up with a long throw and a short throw. Normally a point source is one block with line arrays, but the engineering team designed it to be a vertical point source array. This allowed the sound to cover the room fully, from front to back, and it allowed for clear speech for the pastor. For Our Lady of Mercy this was the most important, that the congregation be able to understand pastor’s teaching. This design also worked well with the acoustics of the room. It increased the intelligibility of pastor’s microphone.

An Allen & Heath SQ series audio console was chosen, and it worked well with the budget and allowed the church to be able to operate with many teams for their different masses. iPad control was utilized and it gave a solution to manage the different groups that would use the preset set up and gave them flexibility. Training was extensive with multiple people from the church needing to know how to operate the console and to be able to switch seamlessly between the different services. The AE Global Media team invested a lot of time and dedication in making sure that everyone was trained and fully capable to do this.

Application of the design and putting the right tools in the churches hand allowed the AE Global Media team to be able to accomplish the job.

The design of the speaker locations, the engineering team’s equipment knowledge and the intensive training all lead to the different services to be able to seamlessly transition with clear sound and intelligibility, with zero feedback issues.

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