Like many houses of worship during the pandemic, Mar Thoma Church of Dallas realized it needed to upgrade its sound system to accommodate for in-person and virtual services. The church turned to Apex General Trading which upgraded the audio experience with solutions from Electro-Voice and Dynacord.
Located in the northern suburb of Farmers Branch, the church’s need to quickly convert to virtual online worship services exposed the limitations of its aging analog sound system and, after 25 years of growth, the timing was right for the church to make a major change in its approach to AV.
“That experience made us realize that we needed to upgrade to a modern digital system to meet both our virtual and in-person worship needs,” explained Aby Thomas, executive committee member and sound upgrade convenor for the church. “We sourced several companies and made the decision to use Apex, who visited our facility, listened to our needs and presented us with a solution proposal that fit our approved budget.”
Based in nearby Wylie, TX, Apex General Trading is a startup integration company that features the IT expertise required for optimizing digital AV systems. Headed by friends and partners Dipu Harilal, a disabled U.S. veteran, and IT audio specialist Tinto Skaria, Apex was invited to bid on the Mar Thoma upgrade after the church heard another Dallas-Ft. Worth-area church audio installation that Skaria had designed and installed.
“I think the reason we won the job was our approach, which was to learn their legacy system and how it was used, then take a step back to assess their current needs,” explains Harilal. “Between their need for streaming services and a move toward more contemporary music presentation, it was clear that they needed to go digital. There were a lot of options, but after consulting with our primary pro audio dealer, Sound Productions, we decided to work with Electro-Voice and Dynacord audio gear in putting our proposal together.”
Armed with a solid knowledge of the church’s needs and budget, Apex developed a proposal based around EASE models developed from blueprints of the 800-capacity facility. The sound system consists of twin EVH-1152D horn-loaded mains, backed by a pair of EVF-2151D subwoofers hidden above and behind the altar area. Additional coverage is handled by two EVC-1082 point-source loudspeakers as 100x100-degree fills to cover seating behind the choir area. All loudspeakers are in matching white EVCoat.
[Streaming Services: Houses of Worship and the Online Experience]
Inputs, levels, DSP and other tasks across the Dante-enabled system are handled via the Dynacord MXE5 Matrix Mix Engine, and the entire system is powered by two Dynacord DSP amplifiers—an IPX10:8 and an IPX5:4.
“Having the entire system networked is a very powerful approach,” explained Tinto Skaria. “The system interface is Dynacord’s SONICUE software, which we used to set up the MXE5, creating custom profiles for each audio zone and optimizing loudspeaker performance. Initially, the system levels and EQ settings are all programmed and locked into the MXE5, with a future goal of creating touchscreen access after the church staff is fully trained.”
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The new system was unveiled in autumn of 2022. “The new EV sound system has made a huge impact on our worship,” said Thomas. “The church choir is ecstatic over the quality of the sound, and several church members have made similar comments. All agree that this project has been a huge success, meeting all our needs within the approved budget. Moving forward, the Apex team continues to help us train new AV Team users to meet both the in-person and virtual needs of our growing parish. We are extremely happy with the results.”