Located in northern Chicago, Edgebrook Evangelical Lutheran Church was organized in 1940. From its small beginnings (the first services were held at the church school and an adjacent storefront), the Church has continued to grow its congregation and now hosts regular masses, prayer services, group meetings and choir sessions. The church provides both traditional music and contemporary music during services.
Recently, the Pastor Timothy Swanson and the choir director Geoffrey North decided it was time for an update of the church's AV system. In particular, the pastor wanted to eliminate much of the clutter of the existing system, as well as provide better sound reinforcement for the church's various choirs and accompanying liturgical audio. While the church set out to perform the majority of upgrades on its own, it had a difficult time actually streamlining the existing system, due in large part to building materials that could not be easily manipulated. Therefore, Edgebrook Lutheran Church ultimately turned to AV professionals Pentegra Systems of Illinois to help reevaluate the church's current AV system approach while adding new functionality.
One of the new features requested by the choir director was the ability to do a house mix from both the choir area and the balcony. Yet with the church's abundance of concrete, it became apparent that running the amount of cable needed to and from the balcony would complicate the matter. Pentegra's solution to this problem was to bypass the use of wires completely using a Wi-Fi network connection and the logic and automatic mixing capabilities of the two Biamp AudiaFLEX CM units. Using the processing power of AudiaFLEX and Audia® software, Pentegra was able to successfully install a fully wireless control system so that church operators have control over the system, including the ability to perform mixdowns using a laptop computer, from anywhere in the sanctuary.
"We decided on the Biamp AudiaFLEX for the project, because we use it for a large number of projects that we complete," said Greg Dieckhaus, a Systems Engineer for Pentegra Systems. "We essentially used AudiaFLEX as the brain of this new network so that we could bypass having to use a conventional mixing board for the performance space. This helped us save space, but also gave us the ability to combine both the performance and liturgical audio controls on a single controller."
With the Wi-Fi network in place, Pentegra loaded Audia and daVinci software on the Church's new Acer Laptop so that operators can adjust volume, mix levels and presets from anywhere, while eliminating the clutter of a traditional mixing board. Then, using the daVinci design features, Dieckhaus was able to design a control layout on top of a mixing board image so that the controls mimic the layout of a traditional house console: active channel metering at the top of the screen, equalization and routing control in the middle and faders on the bottom.
Along with the AudiaFLEX units and Acer Laptop, the completed system is a combination of new components and the church's legacy equipment. To create the wireless network, Pentegra chose two Linksys data switches: one with an access point for general network connectivity and the other to act as an access point on the Cobranet connection between the two AudiaFLEX units. The two AudiaFLEX processors are configured with 34 inputs and 14 outputs to facilitate the various new and existing EAW speakers throughout the church, including: speakers throughout the church for sound reinforcement; VR Series loudspeakers at the front of the church; a subwoofer housed in the equipment/rack room; and a monitor in the chancel pulpit.
The church uses new, wired Shure microphones for the choir and podium, along with existing Shure wireless microphones. Pentegra also employed a Biamp multi-channel amplifier that runs the church's separate speaker zones. Finally, a QSC amplifier powers the portable wedge monitors located in the choir space.
Dieckhaus concluded by saying, "The AudiaFLEX really became the space saving concept for the church."
About Pentegra Systems, LLC
Established in 2000, Pentegra Systems LLC strives to be the leading systems integration company in the Chicagoland area with the skills and resources necessary to provide cost effective and innovative solutions for every customers' audio, video, data, security, and telecommunication needs. Pentegra Systems is a full-service audio/video/data systems integrator comprised of Wizdum Audio, Integrated Media Systems, and Farnsworth Computer Services: three companies combined into an organization that can provide the most comprehensive and innovative solutions to meet any communication systems needs.