A full A/V upgrade for a listed building

Published: WORSHIP

A full A/V upgrade for a listed building

UK: The Church of St Anne in Liverpool is on the National Heritage List for England, granted protected status as a Grade II listed building. The church was built in 1837 and is listed for its special architectural and historic interest, as it serves as an early example of Norman Revival architecture. This protected status posed an additional challenge for Dan Orange of A/V installer Electric Orange, when he was engaged to modernise the church’s A/V setup.

‘From the outset I was well aware that any system installed had to fit in with the Grade II listed status of the building and adhere to its strict building regulations that status demanded, with cable runs kept to an absolute minimum,’ Mr Orange recalled.

The client brief sought a system that would enable the church to act as a contemporary place or worship, with the ability to display presentation slides as well as to handle video content and live music performances from the church band. In addition to church-related business, the sanctuary also hosts an array of community activities, including presentations and assemblies for the local school. The system therefore needed to facilitate these functions.

A complete PA system, projection and multiple displays were all specified, with the church requesting a solution that offered the best possible A/V performance and good value for money. The input sources are a Toshiba laptop that provides the slide presentations and video content, a Swann 8-channel HD video recorder with a CCTV camera system of pan/tilt/zoom cameras that perform a security function and provide streams of events, such as weddings, on the large screens. On top of that the system needed the flexibility to support the potential addition of extra HDMI and VGA sources in the future.

The sources are fed to a Panasonic PT-EW730 projector and four Samsung 32-inch television monitors by the newly installed WyreStorm SW-0501-HDBT HDBaseT presentation switcher and scaler. Electric Orange selected the WyreStorm switcher due to its capacity for four HDMI inputs and VGA connectivity alongside the ability to embed and switch VGA audio within the output signal. The signal can then be sent to an HDBaseT output where it is distributed with a mirrored HDMI output connecting to a local computer monitor. Instant source switching to all outputs is ensured by the SW-0501-HDBT’s internal scaling and QuickSync technology.

Meanwhile, switcher’s adjustable mic input and auto-mix stereo output, as well as the phantom power on which it runs, allow microphone connection from the pulpit with the ability to mix audio with source audio and distribute it through the line-level output. The HDBaseT output facilitates signal transmission of up to 70m via Cat-5 cables to five WyreStorm AMP-001-010 HDBaseT digital amplifiers/receivers.

‘The ability of the WyreStorm AMP-001-010 to receive and transmit signals reduced the possible multiple cable runs from something like a matrix to multiple receivers to just a single Cat-5 cable going from the SW-0501- HDBT to the first amp connected to the projector,’ explained Mr Orange. ‘This is then daisy-chained to the next amp connected to a display, and the next and so on.’

The restrictions imposed on the installation by the building’s listed status also posed a potential problem for the audio, as sound was required run from the source at the back of the church, to the Mackie DL32R iPad controlled mixing desk at the front. ‘The audio output capabilities of the amps also allowed audio to be broken out and routed over the Cat-5 from the video location to the remote Mackie iPad controlled audio mixer at the other end of the church to again reduce cable runs,’ added Mr Orange. ‘The ability to send the sound along with the HDMI signal along just one Cat-5 run and extract it at the AMP-001-010 located nearest to the mixer solved all our A/V distribution problems.’

In addition to the listed status, the church’s height also provided a hurdle, which the Electric Orange team were to overcome with a single cable. ‘The 3m projector screen was installed 8m high, with the Panasonic projector itself mounted 9m high, so just having to run one Cat-5 cable was a big bonus,’ Mr Orange noted.

Completing the A/V upgrade is an LG 20-inch monitor, iFlex10, iFlex8 and iFlex6 speakers from AD Systems as well as T1500 and T1000 amplifiers from MC2.

‘For what the client wanted to distribute, while, most importantly, preserving the integrity of the venue this was a perfect solution,’ concluded Mr Orange. ‘It offered the functionality and value for money the client wanted.’


church, wyrestorm, electric orange