Processing a larger Radius at St Raphael Parish
USA: The St Raphael Parish initially served a Catholic community of 165 families when it was established in the Ohio town of Bay Village during the mid 20th century. That community has grown significantly over the course of half a century and the old 650-seat sanctuary was eventually deemed no longer fit to house a congregation that had grown to 11,000 people from 3,500 families.
The church has therefore relocated to a new premises, that can accommodate up to 1,100 congregants at a time. With more than 10 regular services run each week, there is enough room for all. The new building is fan-shaped and the services include a choir and music from pianos and electric organs, as well as spoken word sermons. As the architecture is of a more contemporary design, the acoustics were not as challenging as those typical of older, more traditional sanctuaries.
‘It's a unique situation in that acoustically, the room behaved as predicted,’ remarks Dave Zarzycki, president of Precision Multimedia, the systems integrator that was contracted to deliver the sound solution for the new sanctuary. Mr Zarzycki’s father, Robert, is the co-owner of the architecture firm that designed the new church.
‘We initially installed small left and right speakers to cover the sides and a centre speaker mounted at the peak area over the stage,’ Mr Zarzycki continues. ‘We used spray-on K13 acoustic ceiling treatment but not at the peak area because we wanted to preserve some reverberation for the choir and organ. That created some issues with the centre speaker, so we swapped out the original speakers for column speakers in a left-right configuration, without a centre speaker.’
With a relatively simple setup on the audio side, the Precision Multimedia team opted to two Dante-networked Symetrix Radius 12x8 DSPs to manage the sound system. ‘I ran a comparison with several competing DSPs,’ Mr Zarzycki notes. ‘The Symetrix DSP sounded by far the most natural and uncoloured. And I've never had a network issue with Symetrix. They're solid, they report on feedback and give me all kinds of data, they support Dante and they never drop offline.’
The Precision Multimedia team installed plenty of mic inputs, including at the base of the altar and at the back of the church. Additional mic inputs were also deployed for wireless mics, as well as floor boxes near the altar. A single Radius 12x8 handles the processing duties for these inputs. The second DSP unit is used for the grand piano mic inputs and is located in the choir area. One issue that did however present itself was that there were six hanging choir microphones and no DSP inputs to facilitate them. ‘We added a Symetrix input expander to the card slot of the Radius 12x8 in the choir area,’ explains Mr Zarzycki.
A wall-mounted Crestron control panel provides level control of the system. ‘The Symetrix DSP also plays extremely well with Crestron equipment,’ says Mr Zarzycki. ‘It's all locked in, so end users just have faders and mutes, tagged to show what they are, with maximum levels set.’ Meanwhile, a Symetrix Arc-Web control system means that the system can also be controlled by an iPad, which duplicates the controls displayed on the Crestron screen.
‘The St Raphael sound system is everything we hoped for,’ Mr Zarzycki concludes. ‘The Symetrix Radius 12x8s were the right choice to manage the system and the parish is very happy. Radius provides all the parametric EQ and loudspeaker management we could ever need and then some.’