InAvate APAC editor, Hurrairah Bin Sohail, speaks with connectCAD clients at Envision AV about how an audio system based on AVB and a broadcast-ready video system were deployed at one of Sydney's oldest cathedrals.
Extracts from story printed in November-December'16 issue of InAvate Apac magazine
St. Mary's Cathedral is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney and the seal of the Archbishop of Sydney. Founded in 1821 the church has been serving its congregation in Australia for close to a century. It recently upgraded its audio and video systems and the project was handled by integrator Envision AV.
Michael Jones, director of the company starts with the reasoning behind the upgrade: “The AV equipment at St. Mary's was quite old and dated. They had Barco LCD monitors and a Creative Audio steerable array system, which is a local Australian brand. Both were around 10 years old.”
The upgrade took place in phases and Jones explains: "We have been doing patchwork at St. Mary's for a long time until they had the budget to actually invest and upgrade. We decided to revamp the whole system and started off with the control system which was failing. From these we did an audio back-end upgrade and finally moved on to video.”
All the design work was handled in-house by Envision AV. Jones says: “We used connectCAD to design the entire project. The software is simple and easy to use and the process is quite painless.”
While designing the new system was not a challenge, coming to grips with the legacy system was difficult. Jones explains: “One of the main issues we had was trying to reverse engineer the old system. There wasn’t a lot of documentation available. They had some from the original instalment and then some from when upgrades happened but a lot of the documentation had been lost. But I can say for the new system the documentation with connectCAD should ensure that this problem is not faced in the future. There was also the fact the infrastructure was copper and we had to change all of that for AVB.”
Envision AV also came to the conclusion that AVB signal transmission was the right choice for the job due to the functionality it offered. Blake Hainsworth [from Envision AV] details: “We had a significant channel count that required a lot of audio patching. There are inputs and outputs everywhere and the overall channel count is very high so that meant that it was not practical to use CobraNet.”
AVB also helped Envision AV solve a particular audio challenge at St. Mary’s Cathedral/ Hainsworth says: “We have the cathedral and we have the crypt underneath it. So what the church wanted to do was to have the option of bringing the crypt in when needed. We thought one of the best ways to make this possible was with AVB. So with an AVB mixer live events could be sent down to the crypt as well, although at the moment it is not really a consideration we have made provisions for it being allowed in the future.”
Interestingly a mixing console, a staple of many houses of worship projects, is absent at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Jones explains the omission: “We have made allowances for installing a mixer if the church wants. The choice of AVB means that we can just slot one anywhere and anytime. It also means that when the situation calls for it external contractors can bring in a desk and have it be on the network. But the space [where the desk was previously installed] is quite small and you do not want to put a mixer in there. The brief from St. Mary’s Cathedral to us was to basically design a system capable of doing lots without having people with AV knowledge being present to operate it.”
Envision AV is based in Sydney Australia and has been providing integrated audio visual systems to businesses, government departments and educational institutions since 2007.