Founded nearly half a century ago in Northampton Township, Saint Bede the Venerable has grown to more than 10,000 parishioners. The church recently underwent a $5 million renovation and expansion, incorporating a classic Italian marble altar, magnificent stained glass, and a new sound system based around Community Professional Loudspeakers VERIS 8 two-way full-range systems.
As Audiobahn's Tony Hersch explains, the new sound system design called for versatility. "Unlike some of the more traditional Catholic churches, St. Bede offers a mix of traditional and semi-contemporary services, with a choral and live musical accompaniment, as well as traditional organ and choir," he says. "So ultimately we had to design a system that offered more than simply spoken word intelligibility - it had to offer good musicality as well."
The distributed audio system includes 14 VERIS 8 cabinets - seven on each side of the seating area, as well as two additional VERIS 8 boxes for platform monitors. A pair of Community CPL27 dual eight-inch systems provide monitoring to the choir loft, and two MVP12M boxes provide additional monitoring. The system is powered by QSC amplification. A Soundcraft LX7II 16-channel console and Shure RF systems complete the signal chain.
One of the biggest challenges in installing the system, says Hersch, was coordinating the work around the ongoing construction. "It was a pretty extensive renovation," he says. "They brought in the altar from another church in Philadelphia that had closed its doors, with massive marble columns, and gorgeous stained glass windows. They were still holding services during the renovation, with the construction behind a false wall, and we were running cable and installing the speakers within a very tight schedule, alongside the general contractors."
Hersch reports that the newly redone sanctuary is nothing short of stunning, with sound to match. "It sounds fantastic, and the coverage is great," he says. "There's not a bad seat in the house, and it looks terrific."