TORONTO, ONTARIO — In response to the significant growth in the size of its congregation, Scarborough Chinese Baptist Church (SCBC) constructed an entirely new facility with three main spaces for large church-related events and worship services. Not only has this sanctuary with its asymmetrical style and high ceilings been recognized for its architectural details (it's received a Governor General's Award for Architecture and an Ontario Association of Architects Award for Excellence), but it also offers the latest in digital gear, including a Pro16® Aviom digital snake that is being used to distribute audio in the three main meeting spaces.
The new facility features a chapel with a seating capacity of 200, a main sanctuary with seating for 1,600, a gym that doubles as a meeting place with seating for 600 along with several classrooms and office spaces. A main goal set by the church was to make the systems in the facility completely digital so that they can be integrated for operations, administration, and/or maintenance. These systems include audio, video, data, telephones, PA, security video, HVAC controls and wireless data.
According to Christian Bechard, CTS-D, the Senior AV Multimedia Designer for Novita, the systems designer for the church, it was important to select equipment that would be adaptable to all of these meeting spaces while also staying within the church's guidelines to be completely digital. "We had seen a demo of the Pro16 equipment for another church project we were working on and were impressed with its monitoring capabilities," says Bechard. "The church has three main spaces that require sound reinforcement–the main sanctuary, the chapel, and the gym–that have to share the same audio equipment. The Aviom Pro16 digital snake provides the flexibility to easily change and adapt the audio setup to each meeting space."
"The Aviom digital snake was a cost-effective solution for the church in that it runs on Cat-6 cable and therefore did not require a lot of conduits to be laid during the construction process," explains David VanVeldhuisen, CTS, project manager for Westbury National Show Systems which handled the installation of AV equipment at SCBC. "It also eliminated the need for costly copper cable runs, which helped the church get the high-quality audio it was looking for while staying within its budget."
The Aviom digital snake is being used to send the microphone and line inputs from the stage to the church's Yamaha® LS9-32, 32-channel digital mixing console. Two AN-16/i-M Mic Input Modules on stage send 32 channels to the Yamaha console at front of house over A-Net®, Aviom's state-of-the-art digital audio transport protocol. An Aviom16/o-Y1 A-Net Card installed in the LS9 console sends the main feeds and monitor mixes from the console to the DSP at the stage. The Pro16 product line offers a modular approach to building digital snakes without complicated computer programming, so the components in SCBC's main sanctuary can be combined with other Aviom modules that the church owns to create different setups for different events. Using the AN-16SBR System Bridge, the system can support up to 64 channels on a Cat-6 cable and provides unlimited lossless digital splits.
In addition to this flexibility and to eliminating the need to run conduit for copper cables in the concrete, SCBC's decision to use a digital snake for audio distribution is also helping to keep electromagnetic interference (EMI) out of the equation. "Our sanctuary's acoustics were designed and treated professionally to be on the same caliber as a concert hall, so we needed to keep the noise generated by the audio system to a minimum," explains James Chan, technical director and systems architect for SCBC. "Minimizing potential EMI issues was at the top of my list during the AV design. Since the floor is concrete, if we had to reroute conduits after building construction due to EMI problems, it would have been an expensive undertaking. With a digital snake, it is immune to EMI"
The Aviom Pro16 digital system also ensures that SCBC is prepared for any future expansions of its AV offerings. "During our building construction, we did not know how many mic input channels we were going to need now and in the future," Chan continues. "Going the analog route would have meant pulling a lot of cables which we may not use for a while or at all. With the Aviom digital snake, all we need is one Cat-6 cable and we've got all the expandability we need for the foreseeable future."