Old St Paul’s is an historic Anglican church on Mulgrave Street, Wellington built between 1865 and 1866. No longer a parish church it is a popular venue for weddings, funerals, concerts and services. The church is an example of Gothic Revival architecture and is now managed by Heritage New Zealand. The church was closed between May 2019 and July 2020 for seismic strengthening work. Heritage New Zealand wanted to take the opportunity to revisit the in-house AV system while the strengthening work was taking place.
The current AV system was old and temperamental and the sound system did not provide the quality they wanted in terms of fidelity and coverage. Audio Workshop was commissioned to provide a sound and video solution for the church. Our aim was to provide a sound system that provided consistent coverage for background music and speech with high intelligibility. The video system needed to be easy to use and easy for the venue staff to set up. An additional design challenge was to meet the historical architectural requirements of the space, working alongside the architect and within their vision. The design needed to take into account where equipment could be attached while also factoring in the look of the design in an historical space. Audio Workshop had to make sure they were not compromising on functionality and quality while also working within the constraints of an overall architectural design. The specific design for Old St Paul’s includes: Audio System:· BSS Blu 100 DSP Processor· Audio Architect Motion Control on iPad· Heckler wall plate· Crown CDI Multi Channel Amplifiers· JBLCBT50s and Control 28-1 Loud Speakers· Shure Wireless Microphones.
Video System· Kramer Electronics Matrix Switches· Kramer HDbasedT Video Distribution· Kramer WP20 input wall plates· 2x Panasonic 75 inch Commercial Displays· 2x Heckler AV TV Trolleys
Audio Workshop used the BSS Blu 100 DSP processor for audio processing and control, using Audio Architect motion control on an iPad, fixed at the tech desk area in a Heckler wall plate. The iPad is able to be run on a LAN connection powered via POE which keeps the iPad charged. We used Crown CDI Multi channel amplifiers and a combination of JBL CBT50s and Control 28-1 loudspeakers. These were custom sprayed a specific Deluxe brown shade as per the architect’s request, to ensure these items blended in with the native timber interior.
Audio Workshop chose these brands and products based on their reliability and performance. The JBL CBT50s were specifically chosen for their look and design as, at 500mm long and slim, they could sit between the timberwork and not be noticeable. These speakers are also particularly good for speech intelligibility.
The BSS Blu100 DSP provided quality sound processing and could also be used to control the Kramer Matrix switcher for video. The Kramer products offered the features needed for the venue’s regular weddings and funerals, as well as reliable video distribution. These products, along with the Panasonic 75inch commercial displays and Heckler TV trolleys delivered a video system that was easy to use by the venue staff. In particular this combination provided a video system that was easy to manage physically. Because a fixed screen solution was not possible in this space staff previously used a motorized screen which had to be set up and dismantled after each use. Audio Workshop’s design put the commercial displays on TV trolleys meaning staff can just wheel the screens into place and plug them in. The Heckler trolleys are able to be stacked together for easy storage.
Audio Workshop’s design for Old St Paul’s produced a sound system that provides great coverage throughout the church with speakers that provide great quality sound for speech. The design is discreet; speakers were placed in such a way that they met the architect’s goal of a nonvisible sound system. The video system provides a reliable, easy to use platform for venue staff that is also physically manageable. The design provided all the functionality required while also working within the limits of the historical building.
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