Sonic Renovation Of St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica In Toronto Utilizes Countryman ISOMAX Microphones

A headset with a hypercardioid polar pattern and a podium mic with Active Vibration Isolation contribute to a renovation for an acoustically challenging space.
One of the Countryman 4RF podium microphones deployed at the church.

St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto tapped G.H. Grassby & Associates to design and install a new system in a challenging acoustic space that includes Countryman ISOMAX 4RF and ISOMAX jeadset microphones.

“We were called in late last year to see if we could come up with a new solution for their sound reinforcement problems,” explains David Grassby, G.H. Grassby & Associates. “It is a very big space with extremely tall cathedral ceilings, plenty of hard surfaces and stained glass throughout. Unfortunately, the original system was not up to the task. Countryman microphones were one component of an entirely new system that we designed and installed after the first of the year.”

Grassby and his team are long-time users of the ISOMAX 4RF podium and ISOMAX headset mics, and specified six headsets and two podium units for the new cathedral system. “The ISOMAX headset features a hypercardioid polar pattern to provide intelligibility without sacrificing warmth needed for most male and female voices.” adds Grassby.

The ISOMAX 4RF podium microphone provides Active Vibration Isolation designed to detect and subtracts tabe thumps, handling noise, and other vibrations from the signal, providing clean sound without the need for shock mounts. A controlled pickup pattern is intended to preserve voice quality at any angle while reducing feedback. Grassby notes that “the tight pattern allowed placement within five feet of the FOH loudspeakers with no issue.”

Another view of the church.

Grassby & Associates brought in The Canadian Rigging Company to supervise installation of the new system that was made up of 24 custom designed loudspeakers hand built in Canada by Belisle Acoustic Laboratories of Montreal Quebec. Power is supplied through eight QSC CXDQ amplifiers processed and controlled through the latest generation of QSYS technology. 

Grassby concludes, “Sound pressure levels and quality of sound exceeded specification objectives and response from the cathedral staff and congregation has been overwhelmingly positive. We are very proud of the result.”


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