San Francisco, CA â€“ September 2011â€¦ An international pilgrimage center for church-goers and visitors alike, Grace Cathedral is famous for its reproduction of Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise, two labyrinths, stained glass windows, its medieval and contemporary furnishings, as well as its 44-bell carillon, three organs, and choirs. Adjoining the main sanctuary is the Chapel of Grace, a charming space that serves as a more intimate environment for a wide range of functions. To ensure flawless performance for these functions, the microphones of choice are none other than the E6 Omni and E6 Flex Omni Earset models from Menlo Park, CA-based Countryman Associates.
San Francisco-based Novo Group, Inc. serves as Grace Cathedralâ€™s audio consultant and integration firm. Specializing in video/audio/lighting systems from small churches to the most complex AV systems of todayâ€™s mega-churches, Novo Groupâ€™s co-founder Arthur Yeap discussed the types of events that take place at the Chapel of Grace and his decision to deploy Countryman microphones.
â€œThe Chapel resides next to Grace Cathedralâ€™s main Nave on the south side,â€? Yeap explained. â€œSeating is configurable and ranges from 70 â€“ 200. The facility boasts lovely acoustics, has its own Skinner pipe organâ€”considered by many as one of the finest small pipe organs in the countryâ€”and has numerous beautiful stained glass windows. This space is home to memorial services, weddings, poetry readings, contemporary performances, and other programs. In the event that the gathering gets larger than expected, the audience can â€˜overflowâ€™ into the main sanctuary area. This is a positively stunning environment and the sound quality must absolutely be on par with every other aspect of the space, and this is precisely why I specify Countryman microphones.â€?
â€œI originally began placing Countrymanâ€™s E6 Omni Earset mics at Grace Cathedral back in 2008,â€? Yeap continued. â€œWe found the sound quality of the microphone and its high gain before feedback characteristics to be exceptional. Recently, we added three Countryman E6 Flex Omni Earset mics and, as with the earlier E6 models, we are very impressed with the performance of these new microphones. The E6 Flex offers very clear sound quality with great speech intelligibility, and this is a paramount consideration for any microphone in this type of environment. Equally important, the E6 Flex mics are very easy to adjust so as not to be distracting, and their size and overall design is very inconspicuous. They are barely noticeable.â€?
Depending upon the nature of the event taking place in the Chapel of Grace, the Countryman microphones are worn by everyone from the clergy to musicians, poets, and others. As such, the microphones are used regularly and are passed from person to personâ€”not all of whom are accustomed to handling products of this nature. â€œIâ€™ve been impressed with the robust design of the Countryman microphones,â€? notes Yeap. â€œNot everyone handles the mics as carefully as you would hope for. The E6 mics are typically used with Sennheiser wireless systems and collectively, they are regularly outfitted in such a way that the microphoneâ€™s seemingly delicate cable gets run underneath some very ornateâ€”and heavyâ€”robes. Nonetheless, weâ€™ve yet to encounter any issues.â€?
Yeap was equally complimentary of Countrymanâ€™s customer / technical support services, â€œWe donâ€™t really have any technical issues with their products because itâ€™s a solid design. Similarly, the companyâ€™s customer service is first-rate. Itâ€™s not uncommon for us to place last minute product orders and the company routinely ships overnight. Whether weâ€™re asking questions about the nature of a particular microphone or are requesting expedited delivery on an order, the folks at Countryman consistently deliver. They are very responsive to their customers.â€?
Before re-focusing his attention to the business of the day, Yeap offered this parting thought. â€œWhile its services are traditional in nature, Grace Cathedral is very open to employing the latest technology to ensure its message gets heard. In addition to the Chapel of Grace and the main Nave weâ€™ve also deployed Countryman microphones in the multipurpose Gresham Hall / Gymnasium area. These microphones consistently deliver outstanding performance. Sound quality and reliability are crucial to Grace Cathedralâ€™s staff. They want very good qualityâ€”and thatâ€™s exactly what theyâ€™ve experienced using Countryman microphones.â€?
To learn more about Grace Cathedral, visit the church online at www.gracecathedral.org. For additional information about Novo Group, Inc., visit the companyâ€™s website at www.novogroupinc.com.
About Countryman Associates
For more than 30 years, Countryman has focused on developing microphones and accessories that deliver maximum gain before feedback, with the highest possible rejection of wind, vibration, interference, and other unwanted sounds. The result is warm, clear vocals in speaking and singing applications, delivering natural audio reinforcement that requires almost no attention from the sound engineer or the performer. For additional information about Countryman Associates, visit the company online at www.countryman.com.