Saints Nicholas Constantine and Helen (SNCH) Greek Orthodox Church recently completed construction of a beautiful and inspiring new building in Roseland, New Jersey. Although orthodox in religious doctrine, SNCH was open to incorporating cutting-edge technologies in order to maximize the impact of its services and events.
Audio Incorporated of nearby Roselle Park designed and installed a sound reinforcement system centered on Ashly Audio that accommodates three simultaneous methods of control: Ashly WR Series wall mounted remotes, wireless iPad control via a Crestron interface, and Ashly’s new FR-16 network fader remote. Via a single Ethernet cable, the affordable Ashly FR-16 provides a bank of faders and push buttons that the integrator can assign to any function inside an Ashly processor.
“Our design started with Ashly’s ne24.24M signal processor,” explained Mike Sinclair, president and owner of Audio Incorporated.
“The reliability of Ashly’s gear is fairly legendary. In all the years we’ve been installing Ashly products, we haven’t had a single failure. That fact, together with its competitive pricing, makes us very comfortable specifying Ashly for this type of installation.”
The original plan was to integrate two Apple® iPads® with a Crestron control system to allow the church to make adjustments wirelessly. One would go near the choir for a sound engineer and the other would stay near the priest so that he could make preset selections for different types of functions, such as weddings, funerals, etc.
Sinclair continues the story, “Long after we were past the design phase but before we had begun installation, Mike Updaw, Ashly Eastern regional sales manager, walked through the door with the Ashly FR-16. I said, ‘Ah! Why didn’t you bring that by a week ago?’ It’s brilliant. In the past, we’ve used remote faders that communicated with a processor via MIDI using some kind of middleman translator, but the FR-16 is vastly more elegant. I was able to put the breaks on one of the iPads so that we could replace it with the FR-16.”
The Ashly FR-16 now sits at the engineer’s position, and Sinclair was able to customize the fader and button functionality completely. For example, many of the faders predictably affect the levels of various inputs, whereas many of the buttons above the faders select presets.
“I’m really glad we switched out the engineer’s iPad for the Ashly FR-16,” said Sinclair. “Because for all the glitz and glamour of a wireless iPad system, it just isn’t that simple to set up and, worse, it frequently loses communication with the network. For an engineer – someone who is actually mixing – it’s much better to have an intuitive and utterly reliable bank of faders. It also saved the church a bit of money, and it saved me a lot of frustration. When I plugged in the FR-16, it just worked. No monkeying.”
A combination of Sennheiser 300 Series wireless microphones for the cantor and the priest and ElectroVoice PolarChoice microphones at the lectern and other fixed locations provide most of the inputs to the system. Output from the organ and media playback devices provides the balance.
An Ashly ne24.24M open-architecture processor conditions the inputs, routes signals appropriately according to presets and system requirements, and conditions the outputs. Sinclair dealt with the room’s characteristically challenging acoustics with a self-powered Renkus-Heinz IC8 steerable array. An Ashly ne4250 amplifier powers Renkus-Heinz CFX41 stage monitors, while two Ashly ne4250.70 70-volt amplifiers power JBL Control Series delay and auxiliary ceiling speakers.
Sinclair also positioned Ashly WR Series wall-mounted remote controls at strategic locations throughout the facility. Where appropriate, they provide redundant access to preset selection. They also make it easy for the non-technical church staff to adjust output volume in specific locations, such as the lobby and cry room.
An Ashly WR-1 near the front door also activates JBL Control 26CT loudspeakers outside the church, which are used before a service as a way to greet congregants and during ceremonies that take place outside.
“Not only were we able to include all of those control systems, Ashly made it simple and bulletproof. Once again, Ashly lives up to its reputation," Sinclair concluded.