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Established in the 1860s, the Cathedral of St Michael and St John in Bathurst is the second oldest Catholic 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 Parish 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 array hanging from a wire above the main pews, which supplied poor coverage and was visually obtrusive.

Bathurst Cathedral Side Chapel

Clare Communications has worked with the Catholic Diocese of Bathurst for more than 30 years. The Cathedral called on Clare Communication’s help to design the right audio system that would enhance the worship experience and ensure congregants enjoyed the best possible music and spoken word at every visit.

“For effective liturgy in this day and age, people need to be able to hear clearly, and they expect good sound,” stated Father Paul Devitt, vicar general and dean at the Cathedral Parish. “This is a very difficult building to create intelligible sound in because it’s got so many nooks and crannies.”


Bathurst Cathedral Indoor Utility

The live acoustics of the Cathedral necessitated a loudspeaker solution that would focus sound onto the pews, avoiding the reflective surfaces of the walls, windows, floors, and ceiling angles.

Clare Communications specified Bose Professional Panaray MSA12X steerable array loudspeakers. At the front of the Nave is a pair of three-module arrays in left and right locations, with another supporting dual-module pair further down the pews. “The Bose Professional MSA12X modular loudspeakers gave us the capacity to steer the beam and focus the sound where it needed go,” said Matt Donovan, project manager at Clare Communications.

Bathurst Cathedral Alter View

Investing in proven and reliable products was important to Diocesan Financial Administrator, Patrick Cooper, especially in a project where longevity was a core objective. “We chose the Bose Professional 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.”

In addition to the MSA12X loudspeakers, the solution also incorporated Bose Professional RoomMatch Utility RMU206 loudspeakers — to support the main column arrays by providing sound reinforcement to the seating areas that adjoin the Nave — and Bose Professional DesignMax DM6SE loudspeakers for exterior sound reinforcement.

Cathedral aerial shot

Aesthetics are important, especially in an ornate cathedral, so mounting conspicuous audio reinforcement equipment in prominent sight lines was not an option. The Bose Professional Panaray loudspeakers are visually discreet. Even with an array with three modules stacked together, the MSA12X loudspeakers blend beautifully into the natural décor of the Cathedral’s interior.

“The Bose Professional system we have here is not intrusive,” Cooper observed. “They actually look like they have always been there.”

Bathurst Cathedral MSA12X

The upgraded audio solution supports the Cathedral Parish’s desire for clarity of word and enjoyment of music. Now, regardless of where a congregant is seated or whether it’s members of the choir, each aspect of worship is clearer and more enjoyable than they thought possible.

Extremely pleased with the outcome, Father Devitt noted, “The Bose Professional loudspeakers are set up to point to certain areas, so we’ve got really good sound all throughout 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.”

“We chose the Bose Professional 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.”

— Patrick Cooper 
Diocesan Financial Administrator

Clare Communications Co Pty Ltd is a company in NSW, Australia, specializing in the field of communication systems, specifically the supply and installation of professional sound systems, public address systems, audio visual and lighting systems, automation/control systems, electronic bell systems, hearing impaired systems, and more.

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Cathedral Parish of St Michael and St John Case Study

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