APG recently completed an installation in an iconic church situated in one of the most important place for Christians worldwide: The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes.
With over six million visitors each year – Lourdes has the second biggest hotel capacity in France after Paris – the 15,000 population French city sees dozens of services taking place every day across 22 separate worship buildings, most of which are recorded and broadcast live on the dedicated website.
Built in 1988, the Church of St Bernadette is the most recent addition to Lourdes’ three main sanctuaries, and the biggest church in France. Following a series of comments from preachers officiating in the church, which can accommodate 5,000 worshippers and 350 wheelchairs, the historical Lourdes team of AV engineers – namely Gilbert Noël, Denis Argentière and Daniel Pinout – decided that it was time for an audio upgrade which would live up to expectations.
APG has been providing the outdoor sound reinforcement right across the sacred site for 25 years. Comments Lourdes AV technician Daniel Pinout: “We get extreme temperature variations in this region, from scorching summer days to freezing winter nights. It’s quite amazing to think that we only ever had to replace a handful of diaphragms from the 80+ APG speakers over the years.”
The Church of St Bernadette presented very specific sonic challenges, and therefore required an equally specific electroacoustic system according to project manager M. Le Vacon. “This church is unique because of its modular design and the variety of hosts: Lourdes is a place of pilgrimage where exceptional events are organised, some very pious and some more festive. We are miles away from a simple traditional mass celebration, so it was simply impossible to achieve a good audio result with a standard audio system.
“The Church can host Christian rock orchestras, choirs, traditional masses and gospel concerts, sometimes all in the same day, so the key words for the selected sound system really were flexibility and versatility. The architecture of the Church is also atypical, it is a wide scenic space so we were looking for powerful speakers with a wide and constant coverage, as well as great intelligibility regardless of where you are standing.”
The system installed by ACE Event comprises 30 APG Uniline UL210D cabinets mounted on the ceiling in hangs of three and split evenly between the two sanctuary sections. Everything is connected via Dante and a digital mixing console, with automatic zonal configurations by pressing a single button.
A new control room was constructed at the back of the Benedictine sanctuary with the remaining backline equipment staying in the old control room which overlooks the sanctuary. It comprises four Powersoft Ottocanali 12K4 amplifiers, three APG DMS48 digital processors and a Furman M-10Lx power conditioner.