The Wellington Cathedral of St Paul is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Wellington in New Zealand and the parish church of the historic district of Thorndon. It is situated within Wellington’s parliamentary precinct and attracts a vibrant and diverse community of people drawn by a particular style of Anglican Cathedral worship which includes fine choral music.
Apart from its role in the Church, the Cathedral has a number of functions as it serves an important civic and national role in New Zealand. It is frequently used to host services of particular attention or significant events, while the fine acoustics in the Cathedral make it a sought after venue for concerts, both choral and orchestral.
Sound reinforcement plays a critical role in the Cathedral, where the tonal balance needs to be just right, complementing the natural acoustics of the building with amplified and distributed sound, ensuring that the spoken word and music accompaniment can be clearly heard.
Kendall Audio Visual was tasked with the sound system upgrade where
leading sound system technologies were needed for the sanctuary and
surrounding areas. Due to their professional audio expertise
and ability to provide unique custom designs, David Kendall chose
supplier JPRO (formerly JANDS NZ) to partner on the project.
“This was always going to be a challenging job – over the years quite a few
people have had a crack at it," says David Kendall, Integrator. "Thanks to the technology provided by
HARMAN solutions, we were able to make big improvements while staying
within the church’s budget. Lots of work
went into getting the design right and even more into the installation and tuning.
I am very proud of what we achieved with a very tricky acoustic space. And now
the Anglican Church have a usable Cathedral space in Wellington.”
Nicholas van Dyk and Paul Edlin from JPRO designed the networked audio and distribution system for the Cathedral. Soundcraft Si Impact, JBL Intellivox and CBT array column speakers and BSS Soundweb processing form the primary parts of the audio distribution, critical for the sensitive nature of the acoustics in the venue.
“One of the main objectives with the system design was to ensure that the sound energy produced by the loudspeakers was distributed evenly in the areas needed, avoiding any unnecessary reflections that could negatively affect the sound and acoustics,” states Nicholas van Dyk from JPRO. “The JBL Intellivox and CBT line array column speakers were selected as they have been manufactured to work in challenging acoustic spaces and they are perfect for speech and music.”
Earlier generation Intellivox speakers had been used as part of the previous sound system and these were re-configured and re-deployed into the system upgrade.
The main part of the Cathedral – the front Nave – is covered using JBL Intellivox DS280 Active Beamshaping Array loudspeakers which are capable of maintaining a constant sound pressure level up to 35 metres. These speakers have on-board amplification and DSP that are able to adjust to the acoustic requirements of the venue. The existing Intellivox DC280 speakers were redeployed into the rear Nave of the Cathedral.
As for the audio processing and distribution, audio is passed in and out of 2x BSS BLU-100 processors and a Soundcraft Si Impact digital mixing console. Basic education and smart system design has allowed simple operation for everyone; offering uncomplicated functionality for lay people, yet great flexibility for skilled AV operators. A BLU-100 was configured to be used as a stage box, allowing for ease of use during liturgy and preaching, as the microphones are automatically mixed using the Soundweb automix function. Control is done via an iPad with the ViSi App and the Si Impact digital mixer is used when greater control is required and for guest artists when the venue is used for concerts.
“The sound system usually has an upgrade every 10 years or so,” says the Dean of Wellington Reverend Digby Wilkinson. “I am very happy with this upgrade - the sound quality, coverage and control provided by the system is a huge improvement and it sounds fantastic!"
Events Manager and Assistant Director of Music Richard Apperley adds: “I expended a lot of nervous energy while the sound system work was underway. I am now extremely happy having heard it in action. Many thanks to David Kendall and the JPRO team for the expertise and hard work they displayed during the installation – you're legends!”
Integrated by David Kendall Audio Visual
Programming, commissioning support and design provided by JPRO