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QSC fit-out for millennium-old German cathedral

David Davies 19 April 2011
QSC fit-out for millennium-old German cathedral

The Mainzer Dom (Mainz Roman Catholic Cathedral) in Germany has undergone a complete AV refit, and now features a new sound system designed and specified by Rolf Mayer from IFB Consulting.

The 4,000-capacity venue’s many requirements for the audio spec – including high intelligibility, low latency and intuitive operation – ultimately led Mayer to QSC’s Q-Sys digital platform, which was recommended by Torsten Haack, project & sales manager audio systems for QSC’s German distributor, Shure Distribution GmbH. Processing power and capacity, advanced crosspoint mixing/switching, available redundancy, and ease of programming were among the factors that drew Mayer to the QSC system.

The resulting system installed in the cathedral as part of the new digital environment includes a Core 1000 processor and six I/O Frames. Programming was a collaboration between Haack, Mayer and system installer Hartmut Tribensky from local integrator BFE Studio und Medien Systeme GmbH.

The fit-out requirement was for both speech and music reproduction (via wired and wireless mic and line inputs) as well as broadcast, TV and internet transmission. The installed system extends coverage to around 25 zones — including the main nave, aisles, transepts, cloisters, choir stalls, organ lofts and high altar, as well as four independent chapels and Bishops Crypt in the basement — providing signal inputs to the discreet, active steerable column line arrays and an Ampetronic induction loop system.

Some 40 input channels and 44 active output channels are in use within the Q-Sys Core 1000’s 64 x 64 matrix. Six Q-Sys I/O Frames (five fully analogue equipped and one digital AES-EBU) are connected to a pair of Yamaha LS9 digital desks via the dedicated cards, providing 16 AES-EBU channels in two blocks (eight channels, respectively, for the East and West wing where the two desks are stationed).

Sound level control comes from a Crestron touch-screen interface, into which the various zonal scenes are preset for recall as necessary. Two Q-Sys PS-800H handheld, 8-button network Page Stations – one located in the Sacristy and one at the access point for the fire marshalls – have also been incorporated into the design.

“Q-Sys is a very nice system and this certainly won’t be my last experience with it,” commented Tribensky, who was supported onsite by project manager, Manfred Eiffinger, and head of the installation group, Ulf Neels.

Rolf Mayer said that the authorities were delighted with the visitor feedback, noting in particular the high intelligibility. “We have managed to achieve an STI in the middle section of the nave of between 0.55-0.6 — because we are mixing every mic in the system individually and applying different EQ for every speaker — without the need to add any further acoustic treatment,” he said.

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