2022 November tech update

Sound equipment beginning to arrive after a period of inactivity.

A year of inactivity for two reasons: firstly there has been long delivery delays for much of the technical equipment we need following the pandemic and global supply chain issues; secondly within the church we decided to investigate different ways of pulling cables, including a bold option of putting them all under the sanctuary floor – a good idea but which turns out not to provide a clear path without first removing floorboards. All of the “temporary” cables across the sanctuary floor need to go somewhere on their way from the sacristy sound cupboard up to the streaming equipment in the organ gallery; they have already been there much too long. In fact we have chosen that all existing microphone lines should travel to the sacristy where they will enter an analog XLR splitter for use by the sound system and also to then double back along the sanctuary channeling and up through the balcony floor near the choir section on their journey to the streaming system located in the organ gallery. The current channeling does not have the necessary space to accommodate all these lines so will be replaced. There are obstacles where all cables must be taken under the floor, including under the pulpit lower step, and under each of the two false pillars. Cable passage in and out of the sacristy will also be simplified.

In addition to microphone cabling, the new channeling will include existing loudspeaker connections plus two more for the new loudspeakers.

To complete the cable installation we include four new digital connections which give us a “stage box” capability to add new microphones in the future (to be installed over by the choir section) and to make all connections available to a future digital version of the streaming system. The technology we have chosen is called DANTE, or Digital Audio Network Through Ethernet. This uses “Cat6” DANTE cables which look like regular network cables. Our new sound system is being designed with the DANTE option already integrated.

Future vision:

For the future of audio and video within a church environment, just look at how fast the DANTE technology is moving. Only 2 years ago, video functionality of DANTE was not yet ready but seems like it now is and thus would make it possible to have streaming cameras and microphones on that network and also to easily provide video to screens anywhere in the building.

Scale of the following example is beyond our current needs but the technical concepts are well in line with our use of audio and video and certainly to have in mind as we go through any next major renovation of the sanctuary or of the building.

It is not planned to do work on the sound system in the month of December which is a critical time in the church year and with many activities using the sanctuary and sacristy, and we all rely on a non-interrupted working sound system. So looks like installation early January is now the best estimate, as soon as the Christmas tree and crib are taken down.

The church featured in this product-supported video is the CITY CHURCH MADISON, WI 53716 It is shown here uniquely to demonstrate their embracing of technology – even if not their embracing of inclusiveness.