St Jude calls on The PA People
AUSTRALIA: Sydney-based sound, lighting, video, A/V and comms contractor, The PA People, was enlisted by St Jude’s in Sydney’s Randwick recently to install a new sound system as well as a hearing induction loop.
As a heritage site, the project gave the installers particular challenges. However, a major restoration project at the church gave The PA People the ideal opportunity to do the work.
‘The whole church has been going through a restoration to take it back to its original condition and to hide anything modern,’ explained Brett Steele, manager of installed systems at The PA People. ‘The whole power system has been rewired, the lighting replaced and a lot of the stonework restored. Luckily, though, there is a raised timber floor under the pews, so we had somewhere to install the induction loop.’
The installers set about removing the old sound system and wiring, before replacing every component. Cabling had to be re-run in and around heritage timber and stone, however, working with the church’s stonemason enabled the team to install the majority of the cabling out of sight. Six metres of custom brass ducting was installed under the marble stairs of the sanctuary in order to both hide cable runs and blend in with the church’s original brass ornamentation.
With the new induction loop installed, a pair of JBL CBT 70J-1 column speakers with an added 70JE-1 LF enclosure were deployed. The CBT speakers have become The PA People’s ‘go-to’ speakers when tackling wild, reflective environments.
‘Having a vertically controlled loudspeaker helps a lot,’ said Mr Steele. ‘St Jude’s has lots of arches, very high ceilings and lots of exposed timber trusses; exactly what you’d expect from a mid-19th century church.’
Four Shure MX418 lectern microphones have been placed at the altar, lectern and prayer desks, and a boundary microphone sits on the communion table. These are complemented by a Shure SLX wireless microphone. All of the microphones are processed through a Yamaha IMX644 rackmount mixer, which provides front panel volume control and recallable saved scenes. The system is powered by a Crown XLS1500 amplifier, resulting in a setup that is described as ‘easy to use for the congregation and clergy alike as well as being unobtrusively incorporated’.
‘The approach to the work undertaken by The PA People was exemplary,’ remarked Geoffrey Danks, senior architect for the St Jude’s restoration project. ‘The location of cabling, speaker positioning and design were all undertaken to compliment the heritage of the building. The staff employed by The PA People extended themselves in cooperation and consideration to the fabric of the church and ensured that cabling was concealed within the stonework and that the speakers mounted in a sympathetic manner.’