Posted in projects on December 19, 2017 1:31 pm EST

Washington’s St. Pat’s Embraces 21st Century Tech

After decades of band-aiding its audio and video systems just to keep them running, St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Walla Walla decides the time is right for an AV upgrade. Details here.

St. Patrick's Church, Walla Walla, WA











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TAGS: architectural design, audio upgrade, avl design, renovation, worship space,


By Keith Loria

After decades of band-aiding its audio and video systems just to keep it running, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Walla Walla, Wash., decided the time was right to upgrade their AV system, and called upon Spokane-based Hoffman Pro Systems to make it happen.

David Lewis, Hoffman Pro Systems’ designer and project manager, met with Father Matthew Nicks to discuss the best way to go and the best tech to utilize.

“They were in a remodel of the cathedral, and the sound system and video update were kind of the last thing on their list. The old system consisted of a single horn and 15-inch woofer in a custom cabinet mounted at the arch above the stage,” Lewis says. “Much of the old system was in disrepair and had failed, and was just [fixed] the best way they could. We needed to bring things forward from the late ’70s to now.”

Lewis’ initial thought in such an open space was a ceiling mounted cluster. “The room has a very typical long reverb time in the low- to mid-range for this type of space,” he says.

Aesthetics & function: Give and take

However, although the church had a big, tall cathedral with a perfect hanging spot for speakers, Father Nicks and the church committee did not want anything up there and instead wanted the speakers mounted on cement columns and blended and hidden throughout the church. The desire of the committee was to remove the existing cluster and not have any ceiling mounted speaker system, which changed his original speaker concept.

“The biggest thing they wanted to accomplish was day-in and day-out service to be intelligible into the seating plane, as the old system was not intelligible at all,” Lewis says. “They wanted speakers within the seating. The reverb in the room is just unreal. It carries forever. You could be in the front, with the father speaking, and there would be no amplification.”

With the church’s budget at approximately $70,000, Lewis began coming up with an AV solution that could give them what they desired and turned to several equipment manufacturers.

It all started with the automated AKG DMM14Ul Mixer in the front of church, which provides for 12 microphone and line inputs with WiFi control via an iPad or android device. Inputs include a new Audix pulpit microphone, Audio-Technica alter microphone, and two Audio-Technica AEW 4000 series wireless systems, providing both hand-held and belt pack transmitters with Mogan EIO headset series microphones.

“Two inputs were also added in the balcony as line inputs from an existing mixer for larger praise teams that are a part of the Spanish ministry, providing a way to get there performance into the main system while removing the large pole speakers pointed back out into the space from the balcony reducing reverberation and delay,” Lewis says.

Solutions in play

Working with Jay Fullmer at JBL Professional, Lewis was able to present a design and proposal based on the Intellivox active beam steering self-powered column speakers, which covered the different seating planes of a traditional cross-shaped seating area of the cathedral with a system that would provide more direct coverage in the seating plane and not be ceiling mounted.

He went with JBL Intellivox DS 115 Self Powered/Active Bean Shaping Speaker and the JBL Intellivox DSX 280 Self Powered/Active Bean Shaping Speaker. He also installed JBL Control 25 Speakers for the upper balcony where the pipe organ and choir are located, so they can better hear what’s going on, and JBL 8138 speakers for under the balcony, which adds extra fill to the room.

Lewis went with Furman power sequencing to replace the outdated audio components, which were originally labeled in the equipment rack in the order that they needed to be safely shut down. Now things can be turned with just a key.

He also worked together with the Furman technical support team to come up with a way to build a cohesive system through the cement columns to provide Father Nicks with what he wanted. The Hoffman Pro Systems team installed a vertical speaker on each cement column and a corresponding Furman CN20 Contractor Series MiniPort in the crawlspace under the building. Lewis then ran electrical wiring through the center of the columns to make the final connection to the speakers.

The church also utilizes Furman CN1800S SmartSequencer in the main equipment rack, supported by one Furman CN15 MiniPort SmartSequencer and four Furman CN20 MiniPort SmartSequencers to manage and protect the audio system throughout the cavernous cathedral portion of the building.

Hoffman Pro Systems also used Furman equipment to live stream the mass to a monitor in an adjoining building, and Lewis also added an underground pipe to a mothers’ room with a flat screen that carries audio and video thanks to a new transmitter product, the Altinex-Anywire System TP315-105/TP315-106.

A single Lumens AV-A50S camera is mounted to the balcony face which sends a signal via a Hall Research Javelin cable to the main rack. The signal is split to a local flat screen monitor and sent by the AnyWire transmitter to the second building carrying both video and audio

“The nuns now can simply walk in, turn on the TV, and stream the mass live,” Lewis says. “They don’t need to manage any technology at all, they simply can turn it on and receive a feed from inside the chapel. We were able to accomplish over 400 feet of signal transfer. It is truly an accomplishment.”





Learn more about the companies in this story:







JBL Professional


Hoffman Pro Systems



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