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Audio and Light: Install at St. Pius, Part 2

May 26, 2011 1:08 PM, with Bennett Liles

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And who’s operating all this stuff? Have they got full time people or volunteers or maybe a mix of the two?
All 100 percent volunteers and we will say this that from their previous sound system in the church building…the church had to tear down the building that existed to build this one so for 18 months they met and had mass in a gym and their volunteers learned a lot fortunately by running sound in a gym for 18 months but I will say this there was a big leap for them to go from a analog mixer to a digital mixer. Audio and Light had to invest quite a few weeks of one on one with each person to really get them on board and up and running but so far it’s been successful. [Timestamp: 5:47]

Well, that was probably great for them from getting used to hearing the services getting done in a gym and then having this sound system. I’m sure they noticed a real improvement.
They told us what they wanted to do and basically gave us the ability to design the system that did what they wanted. [Timestamp: 6:02]

So you got in on the ground floor of the design of the sound system, now I’m sure that included powering scheme as well as isolation and grounding and so forth?
Exactly, the building has a dedicated separate panel for the audio system and we have dedicated circuits—to the FOH, dedicated circuits to the amp rack that are all, once again, on that separate panel and ground as well so we’re isolated from the dimmers and everything else in the building. And we, once again, protect all of the equipment with either an amp rack, the FOH rack or the Renkus-Heinz speakers with the Surgex power conditioning. [Timestamp: 6:38]

And how are you micing all this?
Of course they have a very large choir and we obviously looked a hanging microphones and looked at all the possibilities there and there just aesthetically was not a good answer for a permanently installed mic. And the choir shrinks and grows so what we provided them was a compliment of eight Audix SCX 25s large diaphragm condenser microphones and we’ve taught the volunteers how to place those properly to pick up the choir depending on how large the choir is and those have worked just magnificently. In fact they have a brand new baby grand piano as well and we used two of the Audix SCX 25s in that as well and they do a fantastic job of picking up that piano. [Timestamp: 7:18]

OK, are you using any RF mics?
Yes we are. Here’s an interesting tidbit, the ambo or the pulpit is solid marble and they did not want any permanent microphone installed on that, so we’re actually using a Shure MX418 on a heavy base stand with a ULX transmitter attached to it and hidden beneath and that’s how the pulpit is mic’d. Now the monsignor or the priests both use wireless microphones, once again Shure ULX-S handhelds available for just utilitarian use. [Timestamp: 7:54]

And how are you managing to pick all that up? I would think in this type of building with the hard surfaces and the large area that antenna placement might require a little experimentation.
It was and actually we actually had to move the antennas twice to get it work without any dropout at all because we are…about from the sanctuary platform to the antenna receivers is about 60 or 70ft. line of sight and you’re right, there was a tremendous amount of hard surfaces in there so a multi-path was kind of an issue. So we had to have had to raise the microphones up above the congregation heads to get no dropouts at all and we…of course we sent that through a Shure UA8-44 antenna distribution system. [Timestamp: 8:32]

And you got all this going and you made all the tweaks, so were you there for the initial event when they first used it on a service?
Oh definitely, they dedicated the church, I believe it was April 17 last year and myself and Jim Hall, the president here of Audio and Light, were there on hand to make sure everything went well. The day was flawless, the place was packed and it was just…it was a great day. [Timestamp: 8:54]

OK, so have you gone back and made any last tweaks or did it pretty much work just like you thought it would?
It has run great. We have had to go back and do a few tweaks and a little bit of extra training whenever they have a large band and some of the volunteers just aren’t comfortable with all of the intricacies of running or mixing a live praise band in a setting like that. So we’ve made a few trips over there to straighten out a few user error things but as far as the system goes no failures of anything so far. [Timestamp: 9:2]

All right, well you’ve really got a difficult acoustic environment in there and when you mix in a volunteer crew like you said anything can happen. I’m really surprised you didn’t have to go in and do anymore last tweaks than you actually did with this one. So what have you got coming up next for Audio and Light? Any big projects in the works you want to tell us about?
We certainly do, here in Greensboro we have First Lutheran Church is building a new multi-purpose facility. We’ve worked with them from the very beginning to do all the audio, the video, and theatrical lighting for that job and we’re also getting ready to do all the audio for the new Durham Convention Center renovation in Durham, North Carolina. [Timestamp: 9:55]

All right, well it sounds like you’re going to be busy on those and we’ll have to get with you again and see how those came out. I appreciate you taking time to tell us about this one. Brian Cox from Audio and Light in Greensboro, North Carolina and the new sound system in the St. Pius Tenth Parish, thanks for stopping by.

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