Although ground broke for the construction of Milan Cathedral in Milan, Italy in 1386, it was only in the last decade that its construction was declared complete. The massive architectural project took over six-hundred years – twenty-four generations – and links Europe’s Middle Ages, through the Renaissance, to Post-modernity.
Milan attracts two million visitors a year, and almost all of them visit the famous cathedral. To convey the epic story of its construction and to raise additional funds for Milan Cathedral’s costly upkeep, the Cathedral Museum opened in 1953.
In keeping with the long timescale of the cathedral’s construction, the museum closed for five years and only recently re-opened, completely refurbished and ready to accommodate contemporary revenue streams. Among its new offerings, the museum added a conference room that can be rented for meetings and dinners. To keep costs low, but functionality and fidelity high, the conference A/V system uses an Ashly Pema 4125.10 100V output, combination four-channel 125W amplifier with a built-in 8x8 Protea DSP Matrix Processor.
Daniele Santini of Etabeta Electronics designed the museum’s new conference system, and Marco Oberto of Oberto & Allerino oversaw its installation.
“We were called in after a different system failed to meet the needs of the client,” explained Santini. “That system seemed overly complicated and difficult to control remotely. The client wanted a system that would be virtually invisible and that would still yield highly intelligible audio. Moreover, they wanted a system that could be remotely controlled, even by lay users with no technical background.
“We went with the Ashly Pema 4125.10 for three reasons. First, it gives a very favourable performance-for-price ratio. Second, it only occupies two rack spaces and yet provides eight inputs, auto-mixer functionality, full DSP capabilities, and four powerful 250Watt amplifier channels. Third, it connects easily to Ashly’s line of intuitive user control units.”
Inputs to the system include two wired gooseneck microphones on the conference table, two Mipro ACT wireless microphones, and four line inputs located at strategic points around the room.
The Ashly 4125.10 powers one On Point Audio OPA-Line loudspeaker system from One Systems, plus six individual column loudspeakers. The whole room acts as one zone with several of the loudspeakers delayed slightly to optimize intelligibility at the table.
Users of the system are primarily the people who rent the room for various functions and Santini programmed and deployed the system so that they would be able to use it intuitively.
An Ashly WR-5 programmable push-button remote allows users to select from various preset configurations, such as “dinner party,” “speech,” or “background music.” In addition, an Ashly FR-8 eight-channel Network Remote Fader console provides individual volume control for all eight input sources.
“The Ashly remotes are very easy to configure, and we can insert them anywhere in an establishment’s local area network (LAN) for immediate and direct control of the inputs and outputs,” said Santini. “The museum is very pleased with the new system. They like the intelligibility and are amazed at how easy it is to control using the Ashly WR-5 and FR-8.”