Installation PLACES OF WORSHIP 09 Feb 2021

RCF brings the voice back to the San Prosdocimo Military Cathedral

Belli&Pettinati has chosen RCF for the restoration of the Duomo dei Militari, a church of historical significance in Padua (Italy). Maintaining a small footprint and paired with compact S 5012 subs, the RCF L 2406-T column loudspeakers ensure a full dynamic range, high intelligibility and excellent musical performance for church services and live music events hosted by the facility.

The Church of San Prosdocimo is of very particular significance as it was the first Military Church to be used by the Italian Ministry of Defence-Army. Built in Padua between the 15th and 17th centuries (original construction on the site, however, dates as far back as 1180), it was modified and extended several times until the early 1800s, when Napoleon’s emanations had it adapted and transformed, comprising other places of worship, a bakery and military warehouse. Subsequently, restoration works begun in 1988 with the building rededicated in 1990 and reopened for public worship with its own military chaplain.

The effects of the 2012 earthquake in Emilia made it inaccessible until 2019, when a new and definitive restoration was begun. Inside, as well as housing precious works, such as paintings, sculptures and artistic stained-glass windows, it features an impressive pipe organ, the result of a collaboration between two specialized German companies — Steinmeyer, dealt with the sound and Laukhuff, the console’s electric-electronic controls — capable, among other things, of guaranteeing 64 free memory combinations for a performer's personal use.

A feasibility study for implementing the new audio set-up began last autumn, with some given constraints: the use of materials that are reliable over time requiring no specialized assistance for their daily management; a non-invasive layout, but integrated into the architectural features of its location (which, due to its origin and historicity, is protected by the Superintendence of Fine Arts) and providing the possibility to easily host small, selected acoustic music and artistic events.

Willy Gubellini, co-founder of Belli&Pettinati, states: “The audio system chosen is RCF, to ensure the necessary high reliability and availability. The brand offers specific types of materials for this kind of installation.” After an acoustic analysis of the environment, recreated virtually through the Ease Focus III software, and a realistic confrontation with the real needs of the structure, a unique audio system was designed, that can satisfy the various needs. “Maximum speech intelligibility without reaching high sound levels during religious services, ambient music played during public opening for prayers, the ability to comfortably host simple but important music events or ceremonies without the need for any inconvenient handling or additional equipment. In practical terms, a single system for every need.” Willy continues.

“The audio system chosen is RCF, to ensure the necessary high reliability and availability. The brand offers specific types of materials for this kind of installation.”

Four RCF L 2406-T compact 3-way full-range column loudspeakers with controlled directivity were installed. Thanks to highly intelligible voice reproduction combined with excellent music playback quality up to 126 dB max SPL, it is the ideal choice for fixed installations where difficult environment acoustics or architectural constraints limit loudspeaker size and placement. For live music sound reinforcement, where more energy is required for low frequencies, two RCF S 5012 subs with 12” woofers have been made available, placed on the ground laterally at the edge of the presbytery.

Microphones (gooseneck mic for ambo and seat, boundary mic for altar and handheld wireless mic for direct interventions) have been directly connected to a Xilica processor and sent to the RCF DPS 604X and IPS 2700 amplifiers via Dante protocol. As for the "live" part, opposite the altar is the mixer station, consisting of an RCF F12 XR analog mixer, which, connected to the QR1 via optical fiber is used as a pre-mix for the choir microphones hanging from the beams in front of the organ and, if needed, for sound reinforcement of acoustic instruments. The audio installation has been completed by two pairs of RCF MQ 100L loudspeakers (two laterally in the altar area, and two laterally opposite the organ/choir area) for simultaneous monitor listening when the two spaces are at work simultaneously.

Each function is controlled via the Xilica’s touch control panel. This also controls the lights and the opening of the presbytery side windows. “I must say the audio result during the tests and the commissioning of the microphone setting, also thanks to the acoustics of the place which proved to be more controlled than expected, was very positive and listening to some pieces (Gregorian chants of liturgical music and classical orchestra) was particularly exciting." - Willy comments - "Despite not knowing each other before this occasion and finding ourselves operating in such a peculiar context, with all the difficulties and complications that suddenly arose from the spread of the virus, the experience was - for everyone, I believe - highly positive, with technical feedbacks that exceeded expectations. I am delighted to see Don Maurizio safely managing and controlling all the new audio and lighting equipment on his own!”

“I must say the audio result during was very positive and listening Gregorian chants of liturgical music and classical orchestra was particularly exciting.”
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