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St Mary’s Collegiate

SFL has recently completed an overhaul of the audio system at St Mary’s Collegiate, an historic landmark, tourist attraction and busy parish church.

St Mary’s Collegiate enshrines much of the history of England and has great architectural beauty and significance. It was founded on its present site in 1123 by Roger de Newburgh, the Earl of Warwick. The original building was devastated by the Great Fire of Warwick in 1693, but was rebuilt on the original foundations in 1704 in a Gothic design. People have worshipped on the site for over 1,000 years and it is one of the largest churches in Britain. It is a home of prayer and worship, with a strong musical tradition and required a system that can handle both speech and music equally well.

To this end, SFL has installed a distributed point source system from d&b audiotechnik’s xC and xS ranges, chosen for its audio quality and physical performance of each loudspeaker. For the main nave, d&b’s 16C column speaker was chosen for its combination of small form factor and cardioid dispersion pattern. This results in balanced level distribution across the listening area, while increasing gain before feedback when working with open microphones – a huge bonus for system design. 4S cabinets were chosen as discreet fill speakers for the chancel, choir stalls and nave aisles.

“We used d&b’s ArrayCalc during the design process,” explains SFL project manage Andrew Hardiman. “This allowed us to model the nave and chancel and precisely predict the performance of the loudspeakers throughout the church, ensuring that we achieved optimum results.”

The church’s existing cabling infrastructure was expanded to provide additional XLR connectivity for microphones inputs and Cat5 points for future digital audio devices, with speaker cable preinstalled in readiness for future expansion of the loudspeaker system. In order to minimise the visual impact of the new installation, the SFL installation team opted to run cabling through the church roof wherever possible.

The installation also benefits from Sennheiser microphones, which comprise a G4 ew100 system including three SKM 100-845-G4 handhelds, three SK 100 G4 beltpacks and two A1031-U Omni-directional antenna.

Control of the system is via an Allen and Heath Qu-Pac, chosen for its small rack mount footprint and suite of apps for greater wireless control. An Apple iPad was provided to give full control over all Qu-Pac functionality via the Qu-Pad app. A customised Qu-Control app simultaneously provides a simple interface for non-technical users to control the essential parameters of the Qu-Pac.

“From initial visit to completion of the work, SFL’s professionalism showed through continually,” comments parish administrator, Felicity Bostock. “Thought was given to the best equipment to suit the environment and our needs. The installation team seemed to overcome problems with ease and the training and post installation support has made the whole process remarkably straight forward and stress free.”