Built on the site of a Benedictine monastery – founded in 792AD, St Mary’s Church in Hitchin dates back to the 14th and 15th century in its current form. But despite its long history, the building’s sound system is required to perform to modern standards, and a recent improvement program (carried out by church audio specialists DM Music) saw an array of Audio-Technica microphones and an Allen & Heath Qu-Pac digital mixer installed in place of an outdated radio mic set-up.
From the outset, the clergy at St Mary’s requested a solution that moved towards more fixed, hard-wired microphones for ease-of-use, with six Audio-Technica ES195S cardioid condenser gooseneck microphones and a pair of U891RX cardioid condenser boundary mics employed to enable the clergy to conduct services from a number of different locations, with each microphone having a simple, illuminated on/off switch.
With choral music a big part of weekly life at St Mary’s, ensuring the delivery of excellent sound quality from the choir was key to the new installation. Six Audio-Technica AT897 shotgun condenser microphones were specified to provide reinforcement and balance against the church’s powerful pipe organ, and to allow for high-quality recordings of choral events.
The church’s new audio complement also includes a four channel Audio-Technica System 10 Pro wireless set-up, operating outside UHF frequencies and delivering simple plug-and-play operation for its non-professional users.
At the heart of the new installation is an Allen & Heath Qu-Pac digital mixer and a pair of AB168 portable Audioracks. Upgrading to a digital, programmable mixer brought St Mary’s the benefits of a much simpler cabling system and simple one-button operation to recall pre-programmed settings for a variety of services. Members of the clergy and choirmasters can also use their iPads or iPhones to simply and wirelessly control audio levels around the church, with the system also enabling the recording of services to USB stick.
Finally, a trio of Apart Audio Revamp 4240T power amplifiers drive the new system, which includes an Apart PCR3000RMKIII multisource CD/USB/SD card music player with Bluetooth connection. Apart’s MASK4T-W two-way loudspeaker also features in the new solution’s multi-zone 24 speaker array.