In partnership with Edmond-based AVL Systems Design, Renkus-Heinz‘s “digitally steerable” speakers were recently installed inside the First Christian Church of Tomorrow in Oklahoma City. Although an architectural landmark, the infamous “Egg Church” has historically been plagued with acoustical challenges due it’s concrete dome (which, according to the Metropolitan Library System Magazine, was a cost-cutting measure. See pages 4-6).
The acoustical problems date back to the building’s original construction, and over time, the church has invested countless dollars trying to solve their sound problems,
“According to one parishioner, the echoes were so bad … that when the minister spoke it sounded ‘as though God were repeating every word he said, only much louder.’ In the hope of deflecting the echoes, a 20-ft saucer was hung from the apex [visible above], but it had no effect. An acoustician finally solved the problem by overpowering the echoes with an amplifying system. Carefully filtered sound now come from the round speakers on the walls [visible above] and spreads evenly-and without echoes-over the congregation.” Time-Life, Sound and Hearing, p189. (Source)
In fact, that disc and those round speakers did not solve the problem, and are no longer used, although they still hang inside the church. Only recently, with Renkus-Heinz and AVL System’s help, can they say “mission accomplished.” The tiny digitally steerable speaker columns allow the sound to be directed at specific places in the auditorium, much like a spotlight directs a beam of light.
In addition to being cutting-edge technology, the speakers undergo a color-matching process to cause them to blend into their surroundings. In fact, the speakers are so discrete that according to church staff, parishioners didn’t even notice them after the installation.
Do you see them in the image above? If not, then Renkus-Heinz would probably say, “great!” Thank you to AVL Systems Designs and the church staff for their assistance on location, and thank you to my client Renkus-Heinz for the opportunity to create images showcasing this amazing product!