Wednesday, May. 17th 2023

Acoustical Consulting: Cathedral of Saint Joseph by AVANT ACOUSTICS

The AVANT ACOUSTICS team is proud to have worked on the 2023 Renovation Project at the Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Jefferson City, MO. The Cathedral serves as the main or “mother” church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City. AVANT’s scope of work included acoustical consulting, sound and video system design, construction administration, and commissioning in the sanctuary and undercroft.

AVANT first met with church representatives in 2018 to provide recommendations for a system upgrade. When the diocese decided to undertake a large-scale renovation of the Cathedral, we were able to bring our initial recommendations to full design. AVANT is grateful to have partnered with Abigail Steck Flippin and Cary Gampher of The Architects Alliance (Architect of Record), as well as other project partners including William Heyer (Liturgical Architect), Sircal Construction, Meyer Electric, and Tech Electronics. AVANT worked closely with the owner and design/install teams to ensure all needs were met during every stage of the process.

Our acoustical consulting recommendations sought to optimize the acoustics of the space for liturgical, choral, and musical/organ needs. Emily Jaumard, Senior Associate, led the acoustical design of the project for AVANT. From her perspective, “Acoustically this project was interesting because in many projects we are trying to reduce reverberation. In this project, the client wanted a longer reverberation time to better support singing and organ music within the space. We worked with the architect and client to come up with a solution using acoustical plaster at the low, perimeter ceilings to control reverberation and balance it across the frequency spectrum.”

The existing audio systems, portions of which were original to the building, received a complete overhaul. The primary objective for the new loudspeaker distribution was to provide optimal coverage to all seating areas without introducing any obstruction or distraction from the artistic, architectural, or aesthetic elements, which included many intricate mosaics, sculptures, and wood finishes. To minimize visual impact, custom-painted full-range loudspeakers were installed at the ceiling in lieu of suspended arrays or wall-mounted speakers at eye level. The coaxial design and directed pattern control of the loudspeakers provided excellent intelligibility despite the room’s added reverberance and high ceilings.

With the same aesthetic goals in mind, specialty microphones were selected to enrich the sound of services while remaining as out of sight as possible. These include a soundboard mic at the piano, unobtrusive choral mics, and custom-installed array mics at the ambo and altar. For ease of use, the main vocal microphones may be automatically or manually mixed from installed touch panels, and a mobile digital mixing system in a secure wooden enclosure provides advanced control of the choral, piano, and instrument levels when needed. All audio and streaming systems may also be controlled wirelessly from an iPad so that system operators can sit with their families during services.

On the video side, a professional-grade but volunteer-friendly three-camera production and streaming system was added to facilitate an improved remote worship experience. In the renovated undercroft, a dual-projection AV presentation system was also installed, with wireless video and audio and video feeds from the main system.

David Wetzel, Senior Associate, worked as the primary designer and led the construction administration, DSP programming, and commissioning efforts. He worked with the architect and owner to develop fully integrated and highly flexible systems tailored to the parish’s needs, including customized user interfaces to provide varying levels of control for different services and operators.

As part of our commissioning services, AVANT takes great pride in the final system testing, equalization, and training with the owner, and this project took extra care due to the uniqueness of the design. Andrew VonFeldt, Senior Associate, joined this project for system commissioning. Andrew’s expertise in both room acoustics and technical systems for house of worship environments helped to ensure that the systems functioned harmoniously and operated according to the designed intentions.

Ed Charland, Vice President, was the project manager who assisted with initial site visits and conceptual design options. From his perspective, it was nice to work with an owner that was responsive to questions and appreciated AVANT ACOUSTIC’s expertise and experience. Says Ed, “Hopefully, this project has resulted in audio-visual systems that will serve the church’s current and future needs.”

See before-and-after photos of the Cathedral of Saint Joseph project below.

If you have a project in need of acoustical consulting, sound and video system design, construction administration, and/or commissioning, AVANT Acoustics is here for you. We have over 50 years of experience and are confident we can help with any project. Call us today at (913) 888-9111 or contact us online to begin consultation.

Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Jefferson City, Missouri





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