In addition to being the alma matter of pop icon Gloria Estefan, Our Lady of Lourdes Academy (OLLA) is a paragon of Catholic academic excellence and has been since it was founded in 1963. In order to effectively fulfill its mission in the twenty-first century, however, the school embarked on a four-phase, $15 million improvement project, which included construction of a state-of-the-art gymnasium. Revelation Sound, Inc. (RSI), a state licensed AV electrical and integration firm that specializes in houses of worship and their associated academic institutions, was awarded the contract for the audio, video, and intercom portion of the project.
The Our Lady of Lourdes Academy gymnasium.
The acoustic consulting and analysis for the project was done in partnership with Robert Bernecker of SEFI Consulting in Dallas, Texas. RSI has partnered with SEFI on numerous projects, with the collaboration resulting in excellent AV designs.
“The gymnasium is brand new construction and is intended to accommodate a huge range of functions, including masses, classroom assemblies, presentations, alumnae events, performances, and, of course, gym class and sporting events,” said Michael Melcher, president of Revelation Sound. “The AV system had to be as easy to operate as a toaster! Thus, the AV portion of the project features reliable, cost-effective Ashly Audio KLR-series amplifiers and an 8 x 8 Ashly ne8800 networked audio processor.”
RSI cited the value of Ashly’s superlative technical support and customer service as a key aspect of OLLA’s new system: “What we bring to the table is dependent on how our manufacturers support us,” Melcher said. “We have to be more than just a number on a sales sheet. Working with Ashly gives us that support. When we call, we always speak to a knowledgeable technician immediately – someone we know and have a relationship with. We sell that support as part of our bid. It is critical. Because Ashly provides such excellent support, we’ll stick with Ashly. We’re very conservative and very loyal.”
Inputs to OLLA’s new systems include a well-chosen collection of wireless, standard wired and podium microphones, as well as a Tascam combination CD/iPod/MP3 player and four Mystery Electronics brass court floor boxes. A roll-around rack holds a small Allen & Heath mixer, which provides one level of user control. All of the inputs wend their way to the Ashly ne8800 8-In x 8-Out Protea DSP Processor, which provides gain-sharing auto-mixing for turnkey operation. The processor in turn feeds six Ashly KLR-3200 1600W two-channel amplifiers.
“The Ashly KLR Series packs an unbelievable amount of power and reliability into a two-rack space at a price-point that is fiercely competitive,” Melcher said. “The value to our customers is great, and the fact that the KLR-3200 can power low-impedance boxes or up to 800W into a 70-volt constant voltage system is a huge plus.”
The KLR-3200 amps power three clusters of three Renkus-Heinz CFX-151 loudspeakers each, plus two Renkus-Heinz CFX-18s subwoofers flown above center court.
Members of OLLA’s staff harness the new system's flexibility using three Ashly neWR-5 Network Programmable Wall Remotes. As the school completes its iPad integration, that control will also be available via the Ashly Remote App for the Apple iPad and iPad Mini. Like the future iPad control, the three neWR-5s provide preset configuration, input selection, and overall volume control. Because different uses require different configurations, the presets automatically turn different collections of loudspeakers and/or subwoofers on or off along with other subtleties, such as enhanced bass output for games.
To round out the project, Revelation Sound installed a large EIKI Hi-Def projector mounted on an SVS lift and paired it with a retractable Da-Lite screen.
The result: An excellent user-friendly, high-tech AV system that meets the needs of one “constantly evolving” learning environment that aims at assisting the school to effectively fulfill its mission.