Ensuring that all parishioners can hear both speech and music clearly is an ongoing preoccupation for Houses of Worship technicians, particularly those working in acoustically-challenging spaces. St. Clement’s Parish Church in Cambridge, Ontario, has certainly faced its fair share of challenges in this area, and in fact it was an acute issue with intelligibility that provided the impetus for an audio upgrade incorporating the specification of Xilica DSP technology.
Jon Hisey is Owner and Business Manager of Yake Engineered Multimedia Systems (YEMS), the locally-based AV company and long-term HoW acoustics specialist that was contacted by the church as a result of being “frustrated with parishioners complaining that they could not understand what was being said. They had had another integrator and some well-meaning parishioners with some audio background try to solve the problem, but there had been little if any analysis of room coverage, and there was little if any signal processing being done. Speech intelligibility was the primary requirement, but simplified operation was the other key element.”
A flexible and extensively featured DSP was crucial then, and the YEMS team was in no doubt about where it could locate one. “We use Xilica as our current ‘go to’ DSP as the product range and price point meet our clients’ needs well,” says Hisey. “Most of our projects are in auditoriums for Houses of Worship and large training facilities, and these processors work well for functions such as speaker system EQ and room configuration. I would also highlight the Xilica technical support, which is quick and thorough.”
The resulting installation at St. Clement’s Parish Church draws on four products from the current Xilica range. A Uno Series U1608 DSP provides primary processing such as room EQ and delay, as well as hosting a selection of speaker presets. A NeuPanel Touch 7 controller situated in the equipment rack area provides extensive control functionality, while more straightforward control of basic inputs, volume and primary preset recalls is enabled by the inclusion of NeuPanel Mini K4 and Mini S8 wall-mounted control devices.
Hisey confirms that “the simplified control panels give the operator the basic operation they require, while the controller in the rack area is designed for more sophisticated control when skilled technicians are available. In addition, the ability to recall preset room configurations allows some speakers to be turned off when the band is present, without the need to adjust faders. Looking at it from our integrator perspective, the project represents a great balance between price point and feature set.”
Pleasingly, the verdict from worshippers and church personnel has been equally positive. “The first response was ‘finally we can understand what is being said’,” says Hisey. “From an operations standpoint they are pleased that system users have control of what they need to control, without having to deal with a complicated mixer, and that the system can be quickly and accurately configured for the specific service without having to remember a long list of settings.”