Another 100 Years
Bathurst Cathedral’s 10-year-long refurbishment project is aided by Clare Communications’ design of a future-proof AV system.
Text:/ Preshan John
Established in the 1860s, the Cathedral of St Michael and St John in Bathurst is the second oldest cathedral in Australia. Bishop of Bathurst Michael McKenna commissioned a 10-year-long restoration project to not only address structural concerns in the Cathedral but to breathe new life into the whole precinct, with the goal of sustaining the Cathedral for another 100 years.
The scope of the restoration project included a new audio system to better manage the Cathedral’s range of liturgical requirements. The outgoing system had a loudspeaker hanging from a wire above the main pews which supplied poor coverage and was visually obtrusive.
Clare Communications has worked with the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst for over 30 years. The Cathedral called on Clare Communication’s help to design the right audio system to ensure congregants enjoyed the best possible experience every time they stepped onto the Cathedral’s premises.
“For effective liturgy in this day and age, people need to be able to hear clearly and they expect good sound,” observes Fr Paul. “This is a very difficult building to create sound in because it’s got so many nooks and crannies.”
The live acoustics of the Cathedral necessitated a loudspeaker system that would focus sound onto the pews and little elsewhere.
Clare Communications specified a Bose Panaray MSA12X modular audio system. At the front of the Nave is a pair of three-module arrays left and right, with another supporting dual-module pair further down the pews. “The Bose MSA modular loudspeakers gave us the capacity to steer the beam and focus the sound where we needed to,” says Matt.
Investing in proven and reliable products was important to Patrick in a project where longevity was a core objective. “We chose the Bose solution because it had been tried and tested in the Australian market. We’re not very pioneering here – we’re quite risk averse – so we went with a solution that we knew would work.”
Bose RoomMatch RMU206 utility loudspeakers support the main column arrays by providing sound reinforcement to seating areas which adjoin the Nave. Exterior sound reinforcement is handled by Bose DesignMax DM6SE loudspeakers.
LOOK THE PART
Aesthetics matter in ornate cathedrals and mounting conspicuous audio reinforcement in prominent sight lines was not an option. The Bose Panaray loudspeakers are visually discreet, with even the tall triple-module MSA12Xs beautifully blending into the natural décor of the Cathedral’s interior.
“The Bose systems that are here are not intrusive,” Patrick observes. “They actually look like they have always been there.”
Fr Paul is pleased with the outcome. “The Bose loudspeakers are set up to pitch to certain areas, so we’ve got really good sound all around the Cathedral now. No matter where someone is sitting or standing they get the same quality of sound. The system copes with soft voices, high voices, music, choirs – it’s quite a brilliant setup.”