PreSonus picked for Pope Francis’ Philippines trip

PreSonus audio equipment was used to ensure the highest possible sound clarity during Pope Francis’ recent visit to The Philippines.

The leader conducted mass for nearly a half million people at the Romualdez airport, before meeting with Catholic religious orders at the Palo Cathedral in Tacloban City. Active Integration gear from the manufacturer was deployed at both locations.

Under the supervision of Mon Montejo of Montejo Sound, and in cooperation with several other local and regional firms, Modular Display Inc. of Quezon City delivered a sound-reinforcement setup that was required to cover a 14-hectare (34.6 acre) space. The sound system for the event needed almost a week of preparation, partly because Tacloban was ravaged last year by Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Modular Display president Alvin Quisumbing and his team had planned to mix front-of-house on a StudioLive 32.4.2AI console, with a StudioLive RM32AI rack-mount digital mixer as the backup. However, the threatening Category 2 typhoon convinced them to change plans and use the more easily protected StudioLive RM32AI rack system at FOH, with the 32.4.2AI as backup. The console’s subgroup delays were also used to time-correct the remote speakers.

A veteran PreSonus user, Montejo mixed the event with PreSonus’ UC Surface control software, running on a Lenovo B40 PC with Windows 8.1 and on an iPad 4. "UC Surface worked perfectly, and it’s so easy to use," noted Montejo. "I love using its big faders for mains and auxes, and it’s much easier to tweak the EQ, compressor, and gate in UC Surface than it is with knobs. Filter DCA grouping is very helpful, and I love the recallable XMAX preamps; there’s no need to reach for the console to gain up or down."

PreSonus Active Integration gear played an even larger role in the papal meeting at Palo Cathedral, where the audio arrangement consisted of a StudioLive 32.4.2AI digital mixer and two StudioLive 328AI loudspeakers.

"We were expecting a challenge at the cathedral, especially because it has a dome above the altar, but luckily, tuning the sound system was not that complicated," explained Quisumbing. "While mic testing, we listened from about three-quarters of the way across the cathedral, and the sound was okay except for some boominess. We used the mixer’s highpass filters to roll off lower frequencies at and below 100 Hz, and that did the trick. It sounded great with just a few tweaks. We didn’t use the integrated Smaart technology this time but I was glad to have that option had I needed it."