Cleaning Up The AV Clutter

Cleaning Up The AV Clutter
  • CHICAGO, IL-Recently, pastor Timothy Swanson and choir director Geoffrey North decided it was time for an update of the AV system at Edgebrook Evangelical Lutheran Church. In particular, the pastor wanted to eliminate much of the clutter of the existing system, as well as provide better sound reinforcement for the church's various choirs and accompanying liturgical audio. They turned to AV professionals Pentegra Systems to help reevaluate the church's current AV system approach while adding new functionality.

Because of its abundant concrete, Edgebrook Evangelical Lutheran Church has a wireless audio system powered by Biamp's AudiaFLEX and Audia software.
One of the new features requested by the choir director was the ability to do a house mix from both the choir area and the balcony. Yet with the church's abundance of concrete, it became apparent that running the amount of cable needed to and from the balcony would complicate the matter. Pentegra's solution was to bypass the use of wires completely by using a Wi-Fi network connection and the logic and automatic mixing capabilities of the two Biamp AudiaFLEX CM units. Using the processing power of AudiaFLEX and Audia software, Pentegra was able to successfully install a fully wireless control system so that church operators have control over the system, including the ability to perform mixdowns using a laptop computer, from anywhere in the sanctuary.

"We essentially used AudiaFLEX as the brain of this new network so that we could bypass having to use a conventional mixing board for the performance space," said Greg Dieckhaus, a systems engineer for Pentegra Systems. "This helped us save space, but also gave us the ability to combine both the performance and liturgical audio controls on a single controller."

With the Wi-Fi network in place, Pentegra loaded Audia and daVinci software on the church's new Acer laptop so that operators can adjust volume, mix levels, and presets from anywhere. Then, using the daVinci design features, Dieckhaus was able to design a control layout on top of a mixing board image so that the controls mimic the layout of a traditional house console.

The completed system is a combination of new components and the church's legacy equipment. To create the wireless network, Pentegra chose two Linksys data switches: one with an access point for general network connectivity and the other to act as an access point on the Cobranet connection between the two AudiaFLEX units. The two AudiaFLEX processors are configured with 34 inputs and 14 outputs to facilitate the various new and existing EAW speakers throughout the church, including: speakers throughout the church for sound reinforcement; VR Series loudspeakers at the front of the church; a subwoofer housed in the equipment/rack room; and a monitor in the chancel pulpit.