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

Brian Cox of Audio and Light talks about the new AV system in St. Pius Tenth Parish. 5/26/2011 9:08 AM Eastern

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

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

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When St. Pius Tenth Parish got a big new hard wall sanctuary, Audio and Light in Greensboro, N. C. was brought in to provide a sound system. Brian Cox is here to wrap up his talk with how he set up the monitoring for choir, pastor, musicians, and more. Next up on the SVC podcast.
Brian, thanks for being back with me for Part Two on the St. Pius Tenth Parish Church sound system you put into their new building. That was a challenging acoustic environment as the more traditional church designs generally are. We were talking in Part One about all the different monitoring situations that you have and in that reverberant an environment it must have been a trick to keep those reasonably isolated. What kind of amplifiers are you using for those at St. Pius?

OK, well Bennett, of course the Renkus-Heinz IC-24 Rs are self-powered so they take of their own application—everything else from the subwoofers to all of the other monitor amps, we’re using a plethora of Crown CTS amplifiers, anything from the CTS 600 to CTS 1200 and for the subwoofers I believe the CTS 2000’s. [Timestamp: 1:33]

OK, for the main speakers you had there, you had to get power to those so I guess in getting in on the ground floor of this project probably made a big difference in being able to get audio and power run to places like that.
Because the owner of the church got us involved so early we were able to get all of our conduit and raceways into their drawing set so the electrical contractor was able to have forced power at both columns that…the Razor are mounted on two large central supporting columns in the church which worked out, actually, perfect for us for the speaker locations. And so in those columns we had two power circuits available to us, and conduit for our signal and data runs back to the amplifier rack where the signals are all distributed from. Actually we sequenced those on with a Surgex power conditioner that also has a relay built in it so we that can turn those things on and off remotely and…so when they’re on they’re protected and when they’re off they’re protected. [Timestamp: 2:29]

And where’s the amp rack located?
It’s located in a room just behind house left, just behind where the choir sits, there’s a dedicated room where the dimmer system and the audio system reside as well as several other electrical panels. [Timestamp: 2:42]

And we’ve got some interesting acoustics at work here. How is the acoustic environment of the nave isolated from the chapel?
The isolation there is solely, basically, by glass doors so it’s not very isolated as well so fortunately they never have separate services going on in each one. Most of the time the chapel’s closed and not being used unless overflow during a large mass or during the day, the day chapel is being used and there’s nothing going on in the nave so fortunately for them the isolation wasn’t critical. [Timestamp: 3:13]

And you have the SGX-81 boxes in the nave?

How do those do? Is there a particular reason you went with those?
The reason I went with them was mainly for their cost and performance. We wanted something small and there’s not a very large room to cover and so we could get four of them in there and have two for when you’re facing one way and two when you face the other way. And it worked out, it was a clean install…they hang well with their little Omni mounts and they’re custom colored to match the walls and nobody really even notices. [Timestamp: 3:42]

And of course you got to control all this. Where’s the control point for the system? What sort of mixer do you have in there?
Well, if I can step back for a second, all these different amplifiers and all these signals we process all the audio with a Biamp AudiaFLEX system. We have one CobraNet based AudiaFLEX chassis with various analog inputs in it and two separate Audia XP or inputs that connect to the AudiaFLEX via CobraNet and so that’s what distributes all of our audio out to the various amplifiers and the re-consigned speakers and we have several live inputs available in the chapel that you can get audio in without having to have the main mixer on and that we use the Audia XPs for that. The main FOH console is located near the rear of the nave in a nice HSA Inspire extended desktop that is…it was actually custom made and made with maple wood to match the pews exactly. And the FOH console is a Yamaha M7-CL32 channel. [Timestamp: 4:43]

OK, that sounds like you can handle pretty much anything they can throw at you as far as capacity.
Yes we have, I believe, 24 audio SIMS from the choir in floor boxes in the choir area where the band will setup so we have plenty of inputs there. We have another eight inputs up on the sanctuary platform for anything that they would ever do up there. So we feel like we gave them plenty of capacity, input wise, for the future. [Timestamp: 5:08]

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

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

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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