St. Mary's RC Primary School
Outdoor installation to amplify sound throughout a school in Bicester.
"FLIPSIDE PRESENTED US WITH THE EASIEST SYSTEM TO USE, YET FEATURING HIGH-END PRODUCTS AND A VERY HONEST QUOTE. QUALITY AND SERVICE ARE WORTH PAYING A PREMIUM FOR."
We were given a brief to deliver outside sound to this Oxfordshire school so that music could be played for the pupils at playtime, announcements could be made easily and as a Catholic school, that the speakers could be used for frequent ceremonial events throughout the school year from the outdoor altar.
St. Mary’s Primary school in Oxfordshire has 250 pupils aged between 4 and 11 and has wonderful outdoor green space which the students love to make use of on a daily basis. In order to enhance the space, the school wanted to provide music during break times and have a permanent fixture to facilitate school mass, a school radio station and various other educational uses.
After carrying out some substantial research and contacting numerous suppliers, St. Mary’s school chose Flipside to head up the project, despite the quote being the most expensive. Even though the price was slightly more pricey than they were quoted elsewhere, St.Mary’s opted to choose Flipside as we were the quickest to respond to the enquiry, and we provided the easiest system to use, featuring great products and a totally honest quote.
For the outdoor playground system, we specified Apart MASK4 100v line speakers as they have a great IP rating (weatherproof), sound quality and price. With four playgrounds, fifteen of theses units were spread across the school and installed on brick walls in protective cages. Each playground was given a control panel that could select between a couple of inputs, the school radio, and turn the feed from the field system on and off.
The second part was more complex and specifically tailored for the requirements of the school to be able to hold ceremonial events from the outdoor altar. Rather than run a load of analogue signal cable for inputs from the altar all the way back to the main building where the amp rack was housed, we opted for a fully wireless system.
Audio Technica System, 3000 wireless, offers by far the best quality vs price of any brand on the market, including industry leaders like Shure and Sennheiser. Four channels were comprised of two handheld mics, one headset mic and a belt pack with guitar & keyboard input cable meaning the priest and musicians could all run wirelessly. Getting reception coverage over the whole area was guaranteed with some clever placement of a pair of wideband dipole antennas pointing from the main building towards the field. When tested, we had rock-solid coverage over the entire field without any issues whatsoever, perfect for the requirements of the school.
Finally for the field, in order to stand up to the worst of weather, we opted for One Systems speakers, to deliver the best possible audio. A pair of their 8” 108HTH loudspeakers mounted on tall poles set in concrete flood the whole field with quality audio. The amount of volume is also surprising, easily capable of cutting over the top of even the noisiest kids!
As audio experts, we are able to provide a solution that works for the client but to be honest we were extremely pleased and a little surprised when St Mary’s went ahead with our quotation. We were sure that they would have been presented cheaper options by other companies, however, we knew that there wasn’t going to be anything that did what we had specified and had the same reliability and ease of use, especially for our price.
St. Mary’s wanted an intuitive system that required no training. Giancarlo Refalo, our point of contact at the school, said: "The end product is pretty much exactly what we were looking for. It is future-proof, user-friendly and hopefully will require no tweaking with in the future. It’s been in place for a month already and is being used regularly".
The school now have the best outdoor sound system in Oxfordshire, enjoyed by both the pupils and staff. Giancarlo said: "Students are doing choreographed dances in the playground, the summer fete was a huge success, everything worked perfectly. The fact that I’ve hardly spoken to Flipside since the installation is a good sign!"
St. Mary's RC Primary School
15 x Apart Audio MASK4CT outdoor rated speaker
2 x One System 108 HTH marine grade outdoor speakers
4 x Audio Technica System 3000 wireless microphones
1 x Audio Technica A49/DA49 long-range antennas
1 x Audio Technica PRO49Q paging microphone
1 x Yamaha MTX3 matrix with EXI8 input expander
2 x Yamaha XMV4140 amplifiers
5 x Yamaha DCP1V4S control panels