Church of St. Katharina Deploys Custom Renkus-Heinz Speakers for Polygonal Sanctuary

Published: April 18, 2022

Nestled in the Affoltern district of Zurich, Switzerland sits Church of St. Katharina. The church is a space of worship for youth, young adults and the young at heart. The classically brutalist architecture of the nearly 100-year-old church lends itself to be visually beautiful. However, it is also acoustically challenging with its reflective surfaces and an irregular floorplan. To overcome these audio challenges, St. Katharina turned to Renkus-Heinz. The Foothill Ranch, Calif.-based company supplied a set of compact, custom painted Dante-enabled Iconyx Compact digitally steered arrays.

St. Katharina church worked with AV distributor Chris Steiger, CEO of promedias AG. The church leaders then set out to address the acoustic challenges as well as the polygonal floor plan, wooden pews and irregular projections and wall recesses.

“With an asymmetrical shape and the reflective surfaces common in brutalist-designed houses of worship, such as the sanctuary at St. Katharina, we knew the true challenge was going to be the loudspeaker selection,” remarks Steiger. “The ICC36/3-RD1 arrays from Renkus-Heinz were the solution the church needed for sound quality, coverage, and the high intelligibility. Plus, the minimal footprint and custom paint match of the speakers fit the aesthetic of the church very well.”

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Addressing the Acoustic Challenges

Renkus-Heinz speaker next to a statue on a wall of St. Katharina church.The leaders at St. Katharina were also apprehensive that a new sound system would require messy cabling, a large number of speakers and an obtrusive appearance for only a marginally improved sound experience. However, Steiger assured St. Katharina church leaders that the Renkus-Heinz ICC36/3-RD1 Series would bring the performance and directivity of multiple loudspeakers with just two Dante audio-over-IP arrays. Moreover, it would reduce the number of speakers and cabling necessary.

With ICC36/3-RD1, a thirty-six-channel digital amplifier powers the array’s 36, three-inch full-range, high-sensitivity drivers. With an amplifier and DSP channel for each driver, the Iconyx Compact loudspeakers thus have all the flexibility to custom tailor the asymmetrical beam of sound needed for the space.

“Installing the two ICC36/3-RD1 speakers enables St. Katharina to have intelligible spoken word during services and engaging live musical performances from the band for the nearly 500-person congregation,” notes Michal Poplawski, European technical sales manager for Renkus-Heinz. “The beam steering technology within the ICC36/3-RD1 arrays provide St. Katharina the sound solution for putting audio directly on the worshipers and away from the irregular and reflective architecture.”

“The church has been so happy with the even audio coverage that the new Renkus-Heinz speakers provide to its worshipers,” adds Steiger. “The custom color and compact design guarantee attention stays on the service. We couldn’t have asked for more.”

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