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Renovation at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto Includes Countryman ISOMAX 4RF and ISOMAX Headset Microphones

FOH Staff • News • February 3, 2020

The ISOMAX 4 podium mix with its hypercardioid polar pattern works well in St. Michael’s sanctuary.

TORONTO – After an 18-month renovation, St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica in Toronto was disappointed to discover that their new audio system was not suited for the space or challenging acoustics. To resolve this problem, church leadership tapped G.H. Grassby & Associates to design and install a new system that included Countryman ISOMAX 4RF and ISOMAX Headset microphones for added clarity and intelligibility during services.

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The addition of Countryman Associates’ microphone has greatly improved the audio quality at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica.

“We were called in late last year to see if we could come up with a new solution for their sound reinforcement problems,” explains David Grassby, G.H. Grassby & Associates. “It is a very big space with extremely tall cathedral ceilings, plenty of hard surfaces and stained glass throughout. Unfortunately, the original system was not up to the task. Countryman microphones were one component of an entirely new system that we designed and installed after the first of the year.”

Grassby and his team are long-time fans of the ISOMAX 4RF podium and headset microphones. They specified six headsets and two 4RF podium microphones for the new cathedral system.

“The ISOMAX 4 with a hypercardioid polar pattern is close to perfect right out of the box,” adds Grassby. “It is sonically pure and provides great intelligibility without sacrificing the warmth needed for most male and female voices. It sounds almost like a broadcast – rich and authoritative. With very little work we had it exactly where we wanted. The microphone is excellent.”

ISOMAX 4RF podium microphone provides Active Vibration Isolation that detects and subtracts table thumps, handling noise, and other vibrations from the signal, providing full, clean sound without the need for bulky shock mounts. A tightly controlled, consistent pickup pattern preserves voice quality at any angle while reducing feedback. Grassby notes that “the tight pattern allowed placement within five feet of the FOH loudspeakers with no issue – not something all podium microphones can do.”

Known as one of the best-sounding headset mics of all time, the ISOMAX Headset Microphone is sleek, comfortable, and stays securely in place. It zeroes in on its source, capturing warmth in a wide frequency range while rejecting unwanted sounds and monitor feedback even better than most handhelds.

“When it comes to microphones, we always go with Countryman,” Grassby explains. “We work with a lot of churches and in many acoustically challenging spaces. We know we can rely on Countryman mics to sound magnificent every time.”

Grassby & Associates brought in The Canadian Rigging Company to supervise installation of the new system that was made up of 24 custom designed loudspeakers hand built in Canada by Belisle Acoustic Laboratories of Montreal Quebec. Power is supplied through eight QSC CXDQ amplifiers processed and controlled through the latest generation of QSYS technology.

Grassby concludes, “Sound pressure levels and quality of sound exceeded specification objectives and response from the cathedral staff and congregation has been overwhelmingly positive. We are very proud of the result.”

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