Marytown in Libertyville, IL is the National Shrine of Saint Maximilian Kolbe and is a ministry of the Conventual Franciscans Friars of Saint Bonaventure Province.
It’s stunningly beautiful sanctuary is a notable pilgrimage site and operates twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for Eucharistic Adoration and prayer. In addition, Marytown holds mass twice daily and Liturgy of the Hours four times daily. In short, Marytown is a very serene, yet busy place.
When its sound reinforcement system failed, Marytown called on CAVCOMM Audio Visual (Niles, Illinois) to make a speedy repair. Once the system was evaluated, replacing the aging analog system made more financial sense.
A Symetrix SymNet Solus 16 open architecture, standalone audio DSP forms the heart of a robust, flexible system that the Franciscan Friars liked so much it inspired the installation of a Symetrix Jupiter 4 fixed architecture, standalone DSP in their residence.
“The layout of Marytown’s beautiful sanctuary is unique,” said Mike Canfield, president of CAVCOMM Audio Visual. “In front of the chancel alter area, the pews are perpendicular, and the pulpit and Father’s chair are situated towards the middle of the nave. Just before a major holy day, their mixer failed. I brought in a SymNet Solus 16 so they could get through the busy season.
“Having the flexibility of the open-architecture SymNet Solus 16 was great because we could use it in place of the old gear and we could still use the existing speakers and amplification. New Tannoy VLS15 passive line array speakers were added a few months later. I favor Symetrix processing based partly on its broadcast industry heritage, which requires products to have a quiet, neutral performance and the Symetrix processors are intuitive to program.”
Two Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote controls provide easy selection and volume control for a collection of seven Shure wired and wireless microphones and a CD/iPod deck. An eight-channel Lab.gruppen C10.8x amplifier powers the system. Because it was so easy to program the SymNet Solus 16, Canfield ran a few experimental setups with the Marytown friars.
“I put in a gated mixing design for a few weeks and then tried a gain sharing design,” he said. “Then I asked which they liked better. Because so many different people with different speaking voices and volumes use the system, they felt the gain-sharing design worked better. It was nice to have that kind of flexibility.”
The friars were so pleased with the performance of the new system in the sanctuary that they requested a smaller DSP system for their dining/meeting room.
“It’s very simple, and a Jupiter 4 together with a Symetrix ARC-2e wall panel remote control allows them to play music and have a microphone input for meetings,” Canfield said. “Right now it’s just two inputs and two outputs, but they might expand the system to include some outdoor landscaping speakers or another input. Everything that the Jupiter 4 contains couldn’t be touched by an analog system for anywhere near its price. It’s a tremendous value.”