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A virtual press conference from Sound & Video Contractor



MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – APRIL 2010: Parishioners founded Saint Stephen Catholic Church in 1847 on the outskirts of what was then the frontier town of Milwaukee in the Wisconsin Territory. Its first church survived until 1927, when a fire burned it to the ground, and its second church served the community from that time until the close of 2009. In time for Christmas, Saint Stephen moved into a brand new structure that perfectly blends the rich aesthetic of its earlier buildings with a range of modern conveniences in a 1,000 plus-seat sanctuary. Not least among those conveniences is a console-free, state-of-the-art sound system that delivers consistent, intelligible music and voice across multiple rooms in multiple configurations. In cooperation with Scott Riedel & Associates, David Hosbach of DSH Audio Visions designed the system using Symetrix SymNet processing that makes the user control of the sophisticated and powerful system as intuitive as that of a car radio.

The classic Catholic-style church has a large gathering space leading into the nave, with an adjacent fellowship hall and church offices. The congregation knew that frequent large events would make use of all of those spaces in coordinated ways, ranging from simple overflow to more complex logistical timing of events among the spaces. On the other hand, they also knew that the spaces would be frequently used independently. Simply put, they needed a sound system that could route audio from anywhere to anywhere.

“Although they were determined that they wanted the system to be incredibly flexible, they were equally adamant that they wanted it to be incredibly simple,” explained Hosbach. “They didn’t want to have to contend with an audio console. They wanted to turn it on and have it go.” Hosbach designed the system, and Metro Sound & Video of New Berlin, Wisconsin installed it. Scott Riedel & Associates of Milwaukee designed and installed the acoustical treatments.

Inputs to the system consist primarily of voice, chorus, and acoustic instruments, such as guitar, flute, clarinet, piano, and the like, which use distant mic’ing to provide general sound reinforcement. Both the Nave and the fellowship hall employ CD and iPod inputs for background music. All of the mic lines go straight to the open-architecture SymNet DSP units, which perform all of the mixing, in lieu of a traditional console, in addition to the post-mix processing and loudspeaker conditioning. Two SymNet 8×8 Express Cobra units combine to give the nave sixteen inputs and sixteen outputs. A single SymNet 12×4 Express Cobra gives the fellowship hall twelve inputs and four outputs. All three units interconnect via an Ethernet switch to provide coordinated routing across the entire church.

In addition to direct outputs from the SymNet Express Cobra units, a Symetrix 581E distribution amplifier feeds two eight-channel, 250W Electro-Voice CPS-8.5 amplifiers in the nave. Six Electro-Voice EVH1152/64 and two EVH1152/94 large format full-range loudspeakers cover most of the nave, with fourteen Electro-Voice EVID 6.2T compact surface mount loudspeakers supplementing under ceilings and in the narthex. Twenty Electro-Voice C8.2 coax ceiling speakers cover the fellowship hall.

System control is delivered by SymNet ARC wall panels. Four ARC-SWK and four ARC-SW4 wall panels expanded with an equal number of ARC-EX4 provide all of the control the church needs – and no more. They can mute or unmute all sixteen inputs, with some commonly-combined inputs conveniently grouped. The ARC-SWKs provide volume control. Complementary panels present routing options intuitively so that any area can listen to any other area at the touch of a button.

“I gravitate toward SymNet for three reasons,” said Hosbach. “First, I love the audio quality, which is extremely transparent. Second, installation and programming is a snap. The installer can hook the whole thing up with inexpensive Cat5 cable, and I can program a whole system like this in less than a day. In fact, when I go in for tweaks, it often takes longer to boot up the computer than it does to get the system updated! If there is ever a question, Symetrix’ tech support is nothing short of outstanding. Whenever I call, I get to a human right away who is happy to walk me through whatever I need no matter the time of day. Alternatively, I’ve often simply emailed a file and received an answer with improved programming right away. The third reason is critical. All of the clients I’ve had over the years love the SymNet ARC remotes. They push a button and turn a dial and that’s it. The ARC controllers make complicated systems as simple to operate as a car radio.”

Saint Stephen Catholic Church is overjoyed with the capabilities and simplicity of the sound system in their new building. “If they decide they want to get a little more involved in the mixing down the road, the infrastructure is already in place,” said Hosbach. “We can get them a touchscreen computer with a SymVue interface. That would truly give them a console without a console, again tailoring the depth of access to the needs of the church.”

ABOUT SYMETRIX For over three decades, sound system designers, broadcasters and sound engineers have relied upon the performance, value and reliability of the Symetrix suite of audio routing and processing products.

Symetrix continues to set the benchmark in sound quality, and user-friendly control interfaces, while providing legendary reliability hand in hand with our commitment to non-stop innovation.

You’ll love the ease of doing business with our incredible team of audio and business professionals, who excel in their commitment to serve our customers at the highest level from start to finish, again and again.

Innovative Audio Routing and Processing Solutions – Engineered by Symetrix

For more information on professional audio products from Symetrix, SymNet, Lucid and AirTools please call (425) 778-7728 or refer to websites, www.SymetrixAudio.com, www.SymNetAudio.com, www.AirToolsAudio.com and www.LucidAudio.com.

The following terms are trademarks ™ of Symetrix Inc., Symetrix(tm), AirTools(tm), SymNet(tm), Lucid(tm), all rights to these trademarks reserved.

PHOTO CAPTION Symetrix’ SymNet DSP and ARC wall panels give St. Stephen Catholic Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin the ability to route audio from the nave of the church to adjacent halls with console-free, audio quality that is as easy to use as it is to install.

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