St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Albany, Oregon had several audio issues they needed to resolve.
While some were structural like the unforgiving reverberant space and improper loudspeaker placement, others were functional such as being forced to use an entire mixing console for minimal audio needs.
The church hired Portland-based contractor Delta AV to help solve their multitue of audio dillemas.
“From our initial discussions, it was apparent that 85-percent of their services required just one mic at the pulpit and one wireless mic on the pastor,” recalled Delta AV system engineers, Steve Jellerson and Kurt Bevers, who led the project.
“They were having scheduling issues trying to get someone in to run that minimal sound system, and the whole situation seemed unnecessary to us.”
Bevers designed the new system around the Symetrix Automix Matrix 780. Four wireless mics, a pulpit mic, two floor jacks (intended for choir mics), and output from a video switcher, feed the 780.
Located right at the pulpit for easy access for the pastor, an AMX interface provides access to mute/unmute and volume for each input. A Yamaha LS9-16 digital console mixes the worship band, which consists of drums, acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, and six vocalists.
“We’ve found that in a lot of churches, it’s to everyone’s advantage to keep the spoken word and music mixing separate,” said Bevers. “That way, it’s impossible for the music mixer to interfere with the pastor’s reinforcement, which is, of course, paramount in the Catholic Church.”
Bevers continued, “We’ve also found that the key to a successful system depends just as much on the interface as it does on the technology itself. The biggest obstacle to success is people’s pain threshold. If they think using the system is going to be painful, they simply won’t use it. If it takes more than three or four lines to describe a procedure, the procedure is wrong.”
“The Symetrix Automix Matrix 780 allows me to have tremendous processing power under the hood, but to present that in a wonderfully simple way to the user. Although it is technically a fixed-configuration processor, the flexibility inherent in the 780 goes a long way toward solving almost all of the mixing problems I’ve come across.”
“St. Mary’s is in love with the new system,” reported Bevers. “The control issues have vanished, making everyone’s life simpler and more harmonious. The Father controls his own volume with confidence. The improvements to the coverage patterns are also remarkable.”
“Now the Father can put a headset mic on and walk anywhere in the sanctuary. Not only is he heard, he doesn’t have to worry about feedback! It’s quite literally a revelation for them. They had never conceived of being able to attain that level of interaction and engagement.”