The Diocese of Omaha erected St. Peter Catholic Church in Omaha, Nebraska in 1926, and the church enjoyed many decades at the heart of Omaha’s Catholic community. However, times changed, demographics shifted, and the church didn’t have the funds to keep up with needed maintenance. It fell into disrepair. However, a recent resurgence in attendance inspired by the leadership of Fr. Damien Cook motivated the diocese to fund a major external and internal renovation at St. Peter Catholic Church. Now complete, the renovation, designed and coordinated by Conrad Schmitt Studios of Milwaukee, Wisconsin has won awards and features a new sound reinforcement system anchored by a Symetrix Radius 12×8 Dante network audio DSP system with Symetrix ARC wall panel remote.
“It was a complete overhaul, from the roof to the floors, from the walls to the ceiling, everything is renovated and revitalized,” said Tim Burkhart, senior systems designer with Omaha-based Midwest Sound & Lighting, the firm that installed St. Peter’s new sound reinforcement system. “It’s really stunning. In the process, they knew they would radically alter the room’s acoustics. They wanted to ensure that the new sound system would give them musical impact and intelligibility.”
Milwaukee-based DSH Audio Visions designed the sound system and partnered with Scott Riedel Associates of Milwaukee for acoustic design. David Hosbach, DSH president and principal design consultant concurred with Burkhart, and added, “Father Cook and Music Director Zachary Turner understand that while the music portion of Mass is really important, if worshipers can’t hear the Word clearly the rest of it – the majestic music, the ornate worship space – really doesn’t matter. I take my hat off to them and the St. Peter congregation for allowing the sound design, the room acoustics and the architectural beauty to work together in harmony, so to speak.”
Two Symetrix Radius 12×8 DSPs form the heart of the system. One unit is located at the front of the room, the second unit is located at the back of the room, and they connect via the Dante network. That way, each unit is near to a collection of inputs and appropriate outputs, and because the system integrates completely via Dante, any of those inputs can be sent to any of those outputs. Redundant Dante connections provide a failsafe in case one of the networks goes down – the other network will pick up seamlessly. The Radius units provide sophisticated processing for Crown amplifiers and a Tannoy QFlex 64 steerable line array.
The Radius units are located in a wall rack at the back of the loft and at the main equipment rack in the sacristy at the front of the room. Two remote sets provide user control, with one mounted in the main rack, and the other in the loft in a custom portable box at the organ console. All told, two Symetrix ARC-K1e, five Symetrix ARC-EX4e, and three Symetrix ARC-SW4e wall panel remote control units provide comprehensive, yet intuitive, control of the system. They primarily select active inputs and allow volume adjustment and configuration preset changes. “We use a lot of Symetrix equipment, and we love the hardware, the software, and its bullet-proof reliability,” said Burkhart. “The sound quality is always top-notch, and the Symetrix open-architecture processing is capable of anything we ask of it. Considering how frequently we use Symetrix products, the failure rate is remarkably low. And if something does go wrong, Symetrix makes it right immediately.”
Hosbach commented, “I like the Symetrix SymNet DSPs for the same reasons as Tim. And I’ll add that they are really easy to program, the site files are fast and convenient to move around in and modify on the fly during setup, and the tuning filters are extremely accurate.”
Burkhart concluded, “St. Peter Catholic Church is very happy with the new sound reinforcement system. They are delighted with its sound quality and with its ease of operation.”
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