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Staying Traditional at St. Joseph Cathedral, Part 2

Jan 19, 2012 11:46 AM, With Bennett Liles


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Well, when you fired it up and tried the system out for the first time, how did it do?

Well, it did very well because he’d already had it up and running. I had asked him, specifically, to get things running as soon as possible even before anything was adjusted just to get that burn in time, which we all know is a time when problems show up. So he had it up in a long time and the other thing I did, which was a really good idea, one of the line items in the equipment list was two days of Renkus-Heinz factory speakers coming out of commissioning [that] Jeff set up. So we had two computers running—two laptops, one in middle aisle about halfway back in the nave and had the cabling all setup to the internal wiring. So one computer could talk to the Lectrosonics and the other one talked to a Ethernet hub, which in turn talked to all six speakers and their setup using SysTune and all that was—that was worth its weight in gold. We spent two full days pretty much: The first one especially. getting everything zeroed in and the beams set on the speakers. It was fairly tricky because we had to transition them between the front set and then the ones in the nave. If that’s not done very carefully, you get dead spots and problems with timing. The setup they used was just—I would have spent weeks trying to do that. Timestamp: 6:27]

Where did you put all the receiver mainframes for the wireless mics?

There was a “AV room,” as I say, in the building behind—it’s all attached, but it’s behind—the main cathedral and near their day chapel, and we had two 72in. racks in there and also the Vaddio video stuff setup. The little room’s dedicated for it. It hadn’t been planned that way before the renovation, the big renovation project. So that worked out pretty well. [Timestamp: 6:57]

So that can be a challenging environment not just for the acoustics but also for the RF.

Yes indeed, yeah. That was the main thing is even though it was probably, from where the wireless antennas are way up in the apse of the church all the way from there to the equipment was only 50ft. by a straight line, but the conduit wasn’t quite as cooperative as that so it ended up being a pretty long run. So we had no problems with this stuff at all and it worked out just fine. [Timestamp: 7:26]

Lots of hard, reflective surfaces.

Yeah, yeah. You know, the old rule of thumb is it’s got to be line of sight, but in the end, from that vantage point was that the antennas split quite widely probably about 15ft. apart up in the rounded apse area. You can get all the way out the front doors of the cathedral. [Timestamp: 7:45]

Well, I know they liked that.

Yeah, they definitely did because the Catholic Church has a fairly elaborate Easter vigil thing they call sometimes there’s the vigil fire out front. The service always starts out there and then proceeds into the church from that point. [Timestamp: 8:03]

So what’s coming up next for MuSonics? What have you got in the bag ready to unleash on the next client?

Yes, right. Several things, actually. We have a number, and this is the way it almost always works for us even though we have [been in business] a long time, but Dennis finally built a website about two years ago. But, for instance, we have now two active and one more pending with the same architect, with Duncan G. Stroik, with new projects around the country. So there’s quite a bit, plus we’re working on the First Baptist Church in Washington D.C.; a new church in Naples, Fla., that involves another project in Las Angeles. It’s quite a few, but there’s about eight active or semi active projects funny because of the economy things tend to go forward and then stop for fundraising and then they could just literally disappear for a year or even two years, we’ve had, and then come back. [Timestamp: 8:55]

Well, I appreciate your giving us the details on this thing. This was really a fascinating installation with enough problems to certainly make it interesting and I’m glad you took the time out to tell us about it. It’s Peter Borchard of MuSonics and the St. Joseph Cathedral sound and acoustics installation in Sioux Falls, S.D. Nice job and thanks for being with us, Peter.

Glad to do it. Thanks so much.



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