AV installer RaceTech has returned to Coventry Cathedral after 20 years to replace its own analog system with a fully digital BSS Soundweb London signal distribution architecture.
RaceTech’s head of audio engineering, Robin Dibble, returned to the famous site 20 years after implementing a system, known as the Coventry Reciprocating Delay devised by his acoustician father, Ken Dibble.
“Coventry Cathedral is a vast open space with huge air volume, many hard sonically reflective surfaces and an original central cluster speaker system situated high in the roof,” Robin Dibble explains. “These combine to produce a room acoustic with an exceptionally long reverberation time — eight seconds below 250Hz.”
“But with our original solution, no matter what area of the Cathedral a microphone was plugged into, the system was inherently time aligned in both directions, both up and down the length of the building,” remembers Dibble. “We used a huge rack of hand-wired summing amps, single delays and modular automatic microphone mixers.”
But in the intervening years the Cathedral sound had been questionably maintained, and so the call for help went out to the Dibbles again.
Robin arrived on site to discover that most of their original installation had been stripped out and replaced merely by a distribution amp and a couple of simple mixers.
However, the amplifier and loudspeakers originally specified were still fit for purpose — and six channels of radio mics (and RF assisted listening) have been brought in to augment the six classic AKG C747’s originally specified.
For signal transport Soundweb London provided the obvious and most cost-effective solution.
Dibble specified a Soundweb BLU-160, which offers configurable I/O and signal processing plus a high bandwidth — with proprietary BLU-Link, BSS Audio’s Digital Audio fault-tolerant bus.
This 256-channel solution can use standard, inexpensive Cat6 cabling (linking BLU-Link compatible devices over a distance of 100 metres).
The BLU-160 is configured 16-in/0-out but by expanding the I/O capacity with an 8-input BLU-BIB and two 8-output BLU-BOB break-out boxes Dibble has been able to increase the routing capability to 24-in/16-out.
These operate under master AMX control with an intuitive, portable and wireless 9in touch screen. The base for this is installed in a console at the rear of the cathedral, for use by the vergers and officiating clergy. The equipment rack, housing amps, DSP and radio receivers, is in a dedicated room immediately behind.