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Saint Jean-Baptiste, Mauléon-Licharre (France)

The talking cross of Mauléon

Until recently, the Church of Saint Jean-Baptiste de Mauléon in the French Basque region was renowned for just one thing: miserable acoustics. Little wonder, therefore, that Pastor Jeannot Etchetto and his congregation were overwhelmingly surprised as they experienced the premiere of the church’s new sound system on Whit Sunday. Clear voices and superior speech intelligibility, things which, until now, had never been heard in the late 19th century church. “The new system even translates the Basque [language]”, observed the priest with some amusement.

Even more amazing is the sound source itself: a large cross that hangs over the altar and quite literally “speaks” to the congregation. Disguising a loudspeaker system within a cross was the idea of Régis Durouchoux, sound engineer from the company RDX in Tours, a firm specialized in church sound reinforcement. It was an idea that, in all his years of experience, Durouchoux had never been able to implement due to technological limitations. The fact that he could now do this is down to Daniel Borreau from Rock-Audio Distribution, Fohhn’s French distribution partner. Borreau recommended a loudspeaker system to Durouchoux that could fulfill the project’s unique technical demands without any problem: Fohhn Linea Focus. Using the system’s integrated Beam Steering technology, direct and precise coverage of the congregation could now be achieved – even in an environment that has particularly strong reverberation. Durouchoux was immediately convinced.

At his request, a Linea Focus LFI-220 system with a unique cruciform design and special RAL colouring was manufactured in Nürtingen. As the world’s first “talking cross”, this new system has combined state-of-the-art loudspeaker technology with ecclesiastical art, delighting the community of Mauléon.

We congratulate RDX and Rock-Audio Distribution on achieving this “miracle” of sound reinforcement technology.
 

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