With the Right Tools…
By Anthony Vargas

witht-eh-right-toolsSAN DIEGO, CA – Sometimes, unique building design and a client’s aesthetic concerns conspire to force integrators to think outside the box. AV systems are never one size fits all, but every integrator has his or her tried and true methods and go-to solutions for typical installations. So, when a project comes along where the usual methods don’t suffice, it can be a major challenge. Fortunately, technology is constantly evolving, and the integrator’s toolbox is constantly expanding. This is why it is absolutely vital for integrators to keep up with the latest technological advancements and consider paradigm-shifting new products.

Escondido CA-based integrator Sound Image (sound-image.com) was recently involved in just such a project where the usual methods proved ineffective or impractical. San Rafael Catholic Church (sanrafaelparish.org), located in San Diego CA, contracted Sound Image to resolve significant speech intelligibility problems caused by an outdated sound system. These challenges were exacerbated by a recent remodel of the church’s main sanctuary, which made the already reverberant space even more so. Further complicating matters was the unique shape of the sanctuary, an octagonal room with seating in the round, and a peaked ceiling with a stained glass window at its apex. We talked to Mike Fay, General Manager of Sound Image’s contracting division, and Deacon Ward Thompson, who acted as the liaison between Sound Image and San Rafael, about how these issues were overcome. Other Sound Image personnel on the project included Project Engineer Ryan Ash and Project Manager Bob Delson.

According to Fay, the San Rafael project was brought to his attention by a longtime friend and business associate, Bennett Lord, Principal of Lord Architecture, who happened to be a parishioner at San Rafael. The church underwent a fairly extensive remodeling effort in 2013, which involved the removal of all of the main sanctuary’s carpeting, as well as installation of a stone wall behind the presider’s chair. When it was all said and done, the only absorptive surface left in the sanctuary was the padded seats on the pews. As Thompson explained, exposing so many hard, reflective surfaces made the church think twice about “what we used to think was fair acoustics and a fair sound system.”

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