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Complex Audio Worship Upgrade, Part 2

Aug 28, 2012 10:22 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.

When the massive St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hartford, Conn., needed a sound upgrade they called in Monte Brothers Sound Systems for the job and it was a huge one. Digital snake, multiple mixers, delay systems, and wireless mics were all made to work together. Steve Minozzi is here to wrap up his account of how Monte Brothers did it, coming up on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: Steve Minozzi from Monte Brothers Sound Systems in Ardsley, N.Y., and we were talking before about a huge project in St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hartford, Conn. Wireless mics, delay systems, and broadcast all built around a digital snake. We mentioned the cathedral’s media room just briefly, so what do they have in the media room and where is that located?

Steve Minozzi: The media room is located on the upper level of the cathedral adjacent to the choir loft, and it contains all of the sound system components the amplifiers, the DSP processors, one of the Sound Craftsman analog mixer that we spoke of in the last conversation, and it contains the digital snakes components. However, there are other locations throughout the cathedral where we have digital snake end points that enable us to connect to the media vehicle that’s in the rear of the cathedral in the parking lot. We have actually two portable digital snake end points that they can connect in different locations in the cathedral and add additional mixing capability for recording and broadcast so you could have, for arguments sake, you could have four different analog mixers mixing 24 microphones to different locations at the same time without interfering with each other and not have any effect on the live sound of the building whatsoever which is pretty extraordinary. [Timestamp: 2:04]

It is. And one of the things that we didn’t talk about before was the wireless mics. It’s a big place and they have to be mobile so what kind of wireless mic system are they using in there?

The mics that we’re using are Audio-Technica. They’re the engineered series that were modified to comply with the FCC’s regulation of 600MHz, and they’re fitted with mute box that the celebrant or the priest or the bishop or the archbishop can know that his mic has been muted if he doesn’t want it on. The unique thing with the Audio-Technica wireless microphones, one of the requirements for the cathedral is that they do have events that are outside the entrance of the cathedral, which is quite a distance from the sanctuary, probably a couple hundred feet at least and multiple wireless mics had to work. So we utilized their 600MHz tower antennas and we’re able to position them in the nave of the cathedral and they manage all the wireless mics in the cathedral. At this time they have four wireless beltpack lavalier mics and one handheld lavalier mic and those all operate simultaneously. There’s no restriction. They could have more if they wanted to. The system could easily handle more wireless mics, but that covers everything and they’re also programmed through the Nexia DSP processors. All four wireless mics are programmed to automatically override the alter mic so that—and a lot of these major events at the cathedral there are many, many priests and bishops and archbishops and cardinals standing behind the Altar of Sacrifice and during certain parts of the service they do speak so they need to be amplified so the altar mic is there to amplify both live and for recording and broadcast the additional people are speaking behind the Altar of Sacrifice. In order to do that, the wireless microphones, I have to turn them off. When you go to the alter the wireless microphones are programmed through the DSP processors to lower the volume of the altar mics if there’s no phase cancellation when someone wearing a wireless mic speaks behind the Altar of Sacrifice and then when that person stops speaking and the person that is not miked comes up and speaks at the alter, the altar mic will then turn on and amplify that person so the wireless microphones work very well. They did everything they were supposed to do and they cover the distances they have to cover. As you can imagine this building has a huge amount of steel; it’s steel and concrete, so these had to be really competent wireless units and they needed to have a very sophisticated and competent wireless antenna distribution system, which included two powered antennas. The power antennas because of the distance of the cable, the cable to the—one of the antennas was 100ft. from the source from the distribution amplifier. Powered antennas simply eliminate that 100ft. That’s what a power antenna does; it doesn’t add power to the antenna; it just eliminates the ohm load that’s on the antenna that it loses by having a long cable run, but again, that worked really well and they’re happy with that. [Timestamp: 5:03]

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