Q-SYS Networks Germany’s Historic Mainzer Dom Cathedral’s New A/V Retrofit

System Delivers Ultimate Flexibility & Intelligibility in a Challenging Acoustical Environment 04/01/2011

Mainz, Germany (01 April 2011)-- The thousand year-old Mainzer Dom, (Mainz Roman Catholic Cathedral), one of the most historically important buildings in Western Europe, has undergone a complete A/V refit designed and specified by Rolf Mayer of IFB Consulting, showcasing QSC’s Q-Sys advanced DSP processing system.

As Mayer needed to construct a digital backbone that would offer complex routing and low-latency signal transport over standard TCP/IP hardware — ensuring high intelligibility for congregations of up to 4,000 people — he opted for a Q-Sys network constructed around a Core 1000 processor and six I/O Frames.

This Romanesque Cathedral, with its striking red fascia, spans a length of 116 meters and has ceiling heights ranging between 28 and 54 meters. From an acoustics perspective this presents the significant challenge of an extraordinarily long reverberation time of up to 12 seconds.

In providing superior audio in an environment for congregations of up to 4,000 people, Mayer decided that high intelligibility had to be the primary consideration in considering solutions. He also knew that a digital backbone with complex routing and low-latency signal transport over standard TCP/IP hardware and a sophisticated routing matrix offering an advanced control and monitoring solution were extremely important.

“Operationally the system also needed to be intuitive, and usable by non-technicians,” says Mayer. “We also had to consider the logistics and the cable laying — as the audio and video in a church needs to be extremely flexible.”

Reviewing the available options, Mayer consulted with Torstein Haack from QSC Audio’s German distributors, Shure Distribution GmbH. Haack immediately recommended the Q-Sys digital platform as the most capable and elegant solution for the project, and noted its astonishing processing power and capacity, advanced crosspoint mixing /switching, the redundancy design of the network and its ease of programming.

“With the costs being similar, Rolf opted for the Q-Sys, principally latency time would have been much greater than the 2-2.5ms offered by QSC, “, explained Hack, Programming was a collaboration between, Mayer, Haack, and the system installer, Hartmut Tribensky from local integrators, BFE Studio und Medien Systeme GmbH.

As a result, the Q-Sys solution, including a Core 1000 processor and six I/O Frames, were specified and installed and the new digital environment fully implemented. The system extends coverage to around 25 zones of the cathedral — including the main nave, aisles, transepts, cloisters, choir stalls, organ lofts and high altar, as well as four independent chapels and Bishops Crypt in the basement — providing signal inputs to the discreet, active steerable column line arrays and an Ampetronic induction loop system.

Mayer has also incorporated into his design two Q-Sys PS-800H handheld, 8-button network Page Stations — one located in the Sacristy and one at the access point by the main entrance door. This provides capacitive touch, programmable keypad and 240 x 64 graphics LCD for flexible customization and is fully compatible with all Q-Sys systems. Rear panel mounted GPIO, an auxiliary microphone input and line output allow one Page Station to provide additional I/O at remote locations where necessary, while dual PoE network connections support Ethernet redundancy.

Having worked together on many projects over the years, the men acknowledge that programming and operation are completely intuitive. “Q-Sys is a very nice system and this certainly won’t be my last experience with it,” commented Tribensky.

Summing up, Mayer added that his superiors were delighted with the visitor feedback, noting in particular the high intelligibility. “We have managed to achieve an STI in the middle section of the nave of between 0.55-0.6 — because we are mixing every mic in the system individually and applying different EQ for every speaker — without the need to add any further acoustic treatment.”