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St. James’s Episcopal Church
Richmond, VA

Built in the Georgian style and patterned after St. Martin in the Fields, London, this early-20th century church was destroyed by fire in 1994 and rebuilt in 1997. Responsive natural acoustics of the original church were enhanced in the new building to support a new pipe organ by C.B. Fisk (1998), resulting in challenging speech acoustics. A new approach to speech reinforcement sound system design was needed. In order to retrofit a historic styled sanctuary with modern day audio equipment, we recommended a new loudspeaker technology: digitally controlled, steerable line array loudspeakers (only the second such installation in the United States). Each loudspeaker has separate “sound lobes” aimed down to the main floor and up to the wraparound balcony. Mounted on pilasters on the front nave wall adjacent to the pulpit and lectern, and decorated to match surrounding architectural details, the loudspeakers are nearly invisible, yet the spoken word reaches every listener.

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