By blending contemporary Southwestern architecture with a striking variety of modern and traditional inspirational art, Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Las Vegas immerses up to 1600 worshippers in an extraordinary visual experience. For an equally captivating aural experience, a concealed Meyer Sound reinforcement system – based on LINA very compact line array loudspeakers – supplies crisp speech intelligibility along with the power reserves and linear response needed to support a diverse music program.
“The building design by JVC Architects was truly extraordinary,” says AV systems designer David Starck, a principal of Las Vegas-based consulting firm Coherent Design. “It is visually stunning, with the feel of a traditional Catholic church, yet it’s also very contemporary. It’s understandable that they didn’t want loudspeakers visible, which presented a challenge for us.”
Further complicating the task was the church’s vibrant and varied music program, ranging from traditional choir to high-level contemporary ensembles, plus the requirement for more than 270 degrees of coverage in the circular space. The only feasible solution was placement of three compact line arrays behind a scrim surrounding the central skylight.
“The architect had originally envisioned a more speech-based system,” says Kevin Potts, also a principal at Coherent Design. “But after speaking with the priest and the music team, we knew we needed something with higher power and premium quality. Accurately reproducing the various music styles was very important to the church.”
Starck notes that the LINA arrays required only a minor modification to the original design, a modest extension to the soffit enclosure. “With LINA being such a compact cabinet, we were confident our design was something the architect could work with. I don’t think anybody else in the industry has anything with that amount of power in that size of box. Nothing comes close.”
The Meyer Sound split central cluster comprises three arrays of six-each LINA loudspeakers plus three 750-LFC low frequency control elements for deep bass. Two Galileo GALAXY network platforms – one 816 and one 408 – supply drive and optimization while an RMServer accesses comprehensive system monitoring. Integrator for the project was Ford AV with installation supervised by Project Manager Randy Robbins.
“Our worship music includes gospel, choir and worship songs,” says Ivan Diaz, the church’s IT and media director, “but our system must also accommodate anything from our baby grand piano to flutes, violins, saxophone and cajón along with other percussion instruments. At the end of the day, our purpose here is to worship and spread the Word of God. Having high quality sound that is intelligible, and can be loud when needed, is imperative. Our parishioners count on us to provide that. Everybody in the building needs to feel like they have ‘the best seat’.”
According to Diaz, after more than a decade of worshipping in temporary quarters in an adjacent high school, the sound quality in the church is a revelation. “People are blown away,” he relates. “Some tell me that they have been listening to the same singers for ten years and only now can they hear everyone’s voices.”
Coherent Design’s Kevin Potts is gratified that audio excellence came with no visual penalty. “This has been a highly successful project and we are beyond pleased with it,” he says. “Our goal was a church that sounds as good as it looks, and we achieved it.”
Located in the fast-growing south Summerlin community of metro Las Vegas, Holy Spirit Catholic Church has 3,500 registered families. The church’s exquisite artworks include nine tapestries by noted artist John Nava as well as sculptures in wood, glass and stone by Artesanos Don Bosco of Peru.
Coherent Design, which also specified architectural acoustics for Holy Spirit Catholic Church, is an independent consultancy providing design, counsel, and project management for audiovisual systems, acoustics, theatre systems and ELV systems infrastructure for a diverse range of clients throughout the United States as well as in the Middle East and Far East.