St. Anthony's Church
West of the Mississippi River, St. Anthony Catholic Church is the second-oldest Catholic church in existence and is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in downtown Davenport, Iowa, the church is focused on the importance of preserving its rich history while still being able to use state-of-the-art technology to promote community and fellowship, and provide service and encouragement within and outside the church walls.
St. Anthony Catholic Church is proud of the fact that it continues to hold weekly mass in a building with sections that date back 180+ years. Striking stone walls and floors have been beautifully preserved, while vaulted ceilings signify the monumental work being done inside the church. This environment, however, doesn’t promote clear speech intelligibility.
Over the years, staff members had fielded complaints from parishioners about hearing difficulties. The existing speaker system was located in the ceiling above the altar and faced outward. Improvements were made to the sound system, including placing speakers on the floor and toward the back of the space. However, parishioners still couldn’t hear clearly during mass or special services.
Wilma Hauser was a longtime churchgoer who voiced concerns about speech clarity at St. Anthony Catholic Church. In remembrance of her, her family stepped forward to donate funds for a new church sound system. Because Wilma’s son worked at CEC, it was important to the family that the new system also be designed and installed by CEC.
One of CEC’s experienced systems engineers visited St. Anthony Catholic Church to analyze the existing sound system, evaluate the space, identify potential acoustic challenges, and discuss options.
After brainstorming, the recommended solution was Bose’s new Panaray MSA12X modular steerable array loudspeaker system. CEC brought a demo system to try, and staff members were impressed by what they saw, so they decided to move forward. To make sure mass wasn’t interrupted, CEC worked closely with St. Anthony Catholic Church to schedule work at appropriate times.
This project marks one of the first U.S. installations of the Bose sound system. With this new technology in place, St. Anthony Catholic Church now experiences:
- Outstanding vocal intelligibility and consistency from self-powered digital beam-steering loudspeakers
- Crystal clear sound in any location – for those with or without hearing aids – with wide, 160-degree horizontal sound coverage
- Speakers that aren’t visually obtrusive, allowing parishioners to enjoy the beauty of the altar
- No audio feedback since CEC ensured ahead of time that the wireless microphones and speaker system would work well together
“We’re very pleased with the new sound system, and I feel fortunate that we got to work with CEC. They were respectful of the tradition we have here. Our priest is from the Congo, and he has a very unique voice. After the speakers were installed, CEC came back and worked with him to tune his wireless microphone to fit his voice and pitch. As one of the first U.S. installations of this solution, it was impressive to see so many people collaborating and figuring this system out.”