Some 62 miles to the west of the Urals, in the federal district of the Volga, lies the city of Ufa, capital of the Russian republic of Bashkortostan. The largest Russian Orthodox church in the city is around 100 years old and capable of accommodating congregations of up to 1,500 worshippers. The building has a storied history, having functioned, variously, as a prison, an aircraft workshop, and a cinema in the course of the communist period.
Now the church has been renovated from the ground up and equipped with a new sound system from Electro-Voice. One of the most awkward factors for the acoustic engineers here was the reverberation time, with RT60 beneath the central dome extending to several seconds, severely compromising intelligibility. However, Ufa-based First Install Company, confident in the assistance of Electro-Voice's Russian partner Ruton S, was undaunted by the challenge.
As well as a fundamental improvement in the quality of the sound within the church itself, the client wanted a means of relaying services to the open area in front of the building. Furthermore, the system had to be easy to operate and the loudspeakers invisible to worshippers. With this detailed requirement profile in hand, the team from First Install Company and Ruton S began an exhaustive series of simulations. These determined that the ideal installation combined a carefully tuned blend of Electro-Voice EVID and ZX1i loudspeakers, all governed by a NetMax N8000 controller, coupled with an equally careful selection of Electro-Voice microphones, each ideally adapted to its assigned source.
The reinforcement solution involved placing two Electro-Voice ZX1i-90 loudspeakers in front of the altar and pairs of EV S-40 loudspeakers in the areas above and below the balcony, with EVID 4.2 loudspeakers providing excellent coverage in the nave. Outside the historic building, two ZX3-90PI W loudspeakers take up the relay, allowing the overspill congregation to participate in the service and hear what is being said inside. A NetMax N8000 digital audio controller provides a swift but simple means of controlling the loudspeakers, both individually and in groups, using IRIS-Net software. This offers comprehensive control of the devices – volume, EQ, delay, etc. – from a laptop anywhere within the church.
The microphones placed at strategic locations throughout the building illustrate the breadth of the Electro-Voice product portfolio. The spec includes two RE20 microphones on floor stands to capture the choir, two PolarChoice XLR gooseneck microphones equipped with RE-2 body-pack transmitters for the deacons and readers of the lesson, an RE92H hanging microphone in the icon vault, an RE92L Lavalier microphone (plus RE-2 body-pack) for the patriarch, and two OLM10 Lavalier microphones (also with RE-2 transmitters) for the other priests. The participation of the congregation outside the church is also captured, by an RE410 premium condenser cardioid.
To make the operation of the system as easy as possible, First Install Company opted for PWS-6 Programmable Wall Stations, which offer push-button remote control of the NetMax system including all DSP parameters. Since congregation sizes vary, engineers have programmed four presets: for 100, 300, 500 and 1,000 worshippers.