Faith in sound

AUTHOR: Inavate
Jezuitu and Pazaislis (below) are the two ancient monasteries where Audiotonas overcame architectural challenges to install new sound systems based on OmniLine enclosures

A desire for sophisticated audio solutions has seen the Lithuanian Catholic Church turn to local distributor and integrator Audiotonas for four installations encompassing two new buildings and two ancient monasteries.

Pazaislis monastery and church was founded in 1662 and is the largest monastery complex in Lithuania. It is an impressive architectural example of late Italian baroque and its church and monastery were built in the 17th and 18th centuries on the banks of the Nemunas river. Since 1990, when Lithuania’s independence was reinstated, the complex has been run by the sisters of the Lithuanian convent of St. Casimir. Its church houses between 300 and 400 people and required an audio solution that would provide high quality sound in what Audiotonas would discover was a challenging acoustic environment.

Further difficulties were posed by a need for sensitivity when approaching the ancient baroque building where Audiotonas had to completely overhaul cabling infrastructure. For sound reinforcement, the company chose Martin Audio’s OmniLine and installed eight enclosures on each side, powered by a Bittner Audio Basic 800 amplifier. Full control and DSP was handled by Biamp’s Nexia CS.

Sources for the sound system included Clockaudio gooseneck and handheld microphones with mounting options including a shock absorbing base and a floor standing long shaft with RF shielding. Audiotonas also supplied CD players for recorded content. Six additional AMC MHQ 60 horn loudspeakers were also installed and powered by a Phonic Icon 700 amplifier.

The monastery required a versatile sound system that could handle spoken word, choir performances, live music and recorded content and found the OmniLine system handled its needs. “What is very interesting is that the Catholic church here is not rich, and does not have the budgets for expensive installations,” explains Algirdas Sidiskis, founder of Audiotonas. “Yet after listening to OmniLine once, they find they are unable to resist.”

And the desire for OmniLine spread rapidly. The recent wave of installations Audiotonas has carried out in conjunction with the Lithuanian Catholic church span a dramatically varied collection of buildings. Pilnu Namu Bendrija and Siauliai Baznycia are new churches while Pazaislis and Jezuitu are historic monasteries. Yet each building has one thing in common: an OmniLine system.

The Jezuitu monastery was consecrated in 1759 and is larger than Pazaislis holding between 500 and 700 people. It was constructed in late Baroque style in the early 18th century. In 1787 the church was given to the Order of Fransiscan Monks, later serving as an orthodox church. In 1990, the Church was returned to the Jesuit community, who opened a Jesuit gymnasium in the former college building.

Again Audiotonas installed eight OmniLine enclosures on each side of the building. This time Martin Audio MA1.3s and MA1.6s amplifiers drove the system. Here, Audiotonas was tasked with installing a Cat5 network, a challenging feat given the age of the building. As with the Pazaislis monastery the integrator opted for Biamp’s Nexia CS to handle control and DSP. Sources included Clockaudio condenser gooseneck microphones and a CD player.

When it came to working with the new church of Pilnu Namu Bendrija a decision had already been taken to install a simple column loudspeaker when the project came to Audiotonas. Out of the four buildings this church is the smallest, housing between 150 and 200 people. However, the church authorities were persuaded to attend an OmniLine demonstration at Audiotonas’ headquarters.

“Following the test, the decision to switch to OmniLine – eight elements a side was taken in a few minutes,” said Sidiskis. This time the system was driven by a Bittner Audio 4x400 Dual power amplifier and again control and DSP fell to Biamp Nexia CS.

Here, two 46” NEC LCD displays were installed to show text and video information during services. These were fed by Cabletime MediaStar broadcast distribution over Cat5.

Additional sound reinforcement was handled with AMC ceiling speakers and horn loudspeakers coupled with an AMC four channel amplifier. And, as with the other installations, Clockaudio condenser gooseneck microphones were provided for speakers and performers.

The largest OmniLine system was reserved for the new St Mary’s Church in Siauliai Baznycia which has a capacity of around 700. Of the four buildings this was the only one Audiotonas was involved with from the beginning. With a ceiling height of 18.5m, Audiotonas engineer Orunas Urbonas designed the main sound system using two OmniLine clusters, each containing 12 OmniLine speaker elements per side. Powered by Martin Audio MA1.3s amplifiers, the system was sufficient to focus the sound and provide uniformity across the entire church space.

As with all other buildings, full control and DSP were provided by a Biamp Nexia CS. This not only managed the main system but balcony sidefills, in the form of AMC column loudspeakers, and 12 RCF CS6940 exterior columns. Sound presets are recalled using Biamp’s VS8 volume select control, which was designed to allow effective operation by non-technical staff. Clockaudio was again chosen to provide gooseneck microphones and Audiotonas also supplied an Audix electret condenser and an Audix OM3 mic.

“Audiotonas has a large amount of experience in church projects in Lithuania,” concludes Rorbertas Lucinskas, general manager of Audiotonas. “During 17 years since 1994 we have carried out about 70 different size projects.” What is interesting about this latest cluster of installations is, despite the vastly different nature of the churches, each one opted for OmniLine and Audiotonas suggests the drive is coming from the client.


AMC amplifiers, ceiling speakers, horn loudspeakers
Audix ADX51 electret condenser, OM3 mic
Biamp Nexia CS processors, VS8 volume select control
Bittner Audio amplifiers
Clockaudio C35 mics, C900 mic, mic bases, floor standing shaft
Martin Audio OmniLine systems, MA900 amplifiers
Phonic Icon 700 amplifier
RCF CS6940 columns

NEC 46” LCD displays
Cabletime MediaStar broadcast distribution