Ashly Audio revives lightning-struck monastery
WORLD: The Mount Saint Benedict Monastery in Pennsylvania – the spiritual centre of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie and nursing facility for elderly women – was recently struck by lightning, damaging the electronics in its sound reinforcement system beyond repair. Fact AV Technologies installed the original system, and after loaning a temporary solution for the 100-seat chapel, promptly designed and installed a new system based around Ashly Audio ne series amplifiers.
Eric Johnson, owner of Fact AV Technologies, duplicated the original system’s processing and user control, with a few minor updates. Ten wired and six wireless microphones were installed, as was a Lectrosonics processor. Meanwhile, an AMX user-control system provides customised control of input selection and output volume.
An eight-channel Ashly ne8250 amplifier powers the main speakers for the sanctuary, a two-channel Ashly ne800 powers the stage monitors, and a two-channel Ashly ne800.70 powers the 70V systems on the building’s first and second floors. Fortunately, none of the building’s coaxial loudspeakers were damaged by the lightning strike.
‘Almost all of the sisters can hear way better than I can,’ laughed Mr Johnson. ‘When we were commissioning the original system, they complained of a high-pitched hum. I couldn’t hear it, and only one of the three guys on my crew could hear it…barely. But they were right. I tracked down the problem and removed the hum.
‘Ashly’s feature set per cost is unsurpassed,’ he continued. ‘Ashly offers a range of configurations that are very useful to me as I design optimal systems in different scenarios. Ashly amplifiers, and the ne Series in particular, are lightweight and compact and the units are always reliable. I’ve almost never had service issues, but when I have, Ashly’s support staff turns the repair around right away or sends advance replacements. Either way, they take care of me.
‘Also, they sound great. As you might imagine, the monastery is very quiet, and the amps are perfectly silent. Plus, their fidelity is excellent.’
Mr Johnson noted that the sisters and nursing home residents have noticed an ‘obviously discernable increase in the system’s intelligibility and clarity. The new Ashly amplifiers have played a huge role in that improvement,’ he concluded.