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Feature: Military precision

Feature: Military precision

Feature: Military precision

RCF has provided hundreds of speakers for the indoor and outdoor areas of the Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces in Russia

The Main Cathedral of the Russian Armed Forces sits at the heart of the Patriot Park in Kubinka, near Moscow. Also known as the Church of the Resurrection, the cathedral is dedicated to the 75th anniversary of Russia’s victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945 and calls on all Orthodox Christians to pray for the millions of soldiers and civilians who were killed during the war.

President Vladimir Putin (centre left) and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow (centre right) look at plans for the cathedral
President Vladimir Putin (centre left) and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow (centre right) look at plans for the cathedral

The vast site of the Patriot Park was opened by the Russian Ministry of Defence in 2015 and includes military museums plus sports facilities, historical exhibitions and expositions of weapons and equipment samples. The facilities allow people to not only look at the exhibits but also drive and fly military equipment simulators, shoot combat weapons and take part in parachute jumps.

The cathedral building is 95m high and incorporates symbols of the Great Patriotic War in its design, with the steps and some of the metal elements cast from melted German weapons. The diameter of the central dome is 19.45m, representing the year the war ended; the belfry is 75m high in honour of the 75th anniversary in 2020; and the small dome is 14.18m high, commemorating the 1,418 days and nights of fighting in the Great Patriotic War. A building steeped in such history required a top-tier sound reinforcement system to amplify its message, and renowned Russian systems integrator Avilex was called in for the job.

A 3D model of the site
A 3D model of the site

Discussions surrounding the building of the cathedral began back in 2019. Every year since 2015, something new has been added to the complex, be that a new building, museum or additional infrastructure. Avilex was involved from the start, providing advice on both the AV systems and IT infrastructure portions of the project. The SI has had experience working on other projects commissioned by the Ministry of Defence and invited Russian distributor ARIS to become a partner for the audio elements of the project; the two companies have been collaborating together on other installations since 2009.

When ARIS and Avilex commenced work on the cathedral, the main requirement was for high SPL levels of more than 90dB as well as a high STI rating of above 0.6. The reliability and robustness of the speakers were considered and, given the huge scale of the project and the need for hundreds of cabinets, they also had to be cost-effective. For these reasons, RCF was selected to be the main audio supplier.

With the cathedral site spanning around 11,000m2, the building itself has the capacity to hold up to 6,000 people. The outdoor area surrounding the cathedral has been outfitted with RCF speakers for audio reinforcement. This includes 50 wide-dispersion P 3115T weatherproof coaxial speakers from the Italian manufacturer’s P Series to cover the parade square in front of the cathedral, in addition to two HL 2290s at the left and right of the entrance to provide maximum SPLs. The street area and buildings around the perimeter have been outfitted with 88 CS 6940 weatherproof column speakers, while the far side of the complex has been equipped with HD 3216 horns. A total of 252 HD 3216 cabinets have been used across the whole site.

Pylon holding an RCF P 3110 speaker
Pylon holding an RCF P 3110 speaker

The HD 3216 horns have also been called to action at the “Battle for Moscow in 1941” open-air museum, which includes a reconstruction of the area where the Red Army halted the German advancement on Moscow and where the Soviet counteroffensive began.

The gallery around the cathedral takes 1,418 steps to complete – a further reference to the 1,418 days of the Great Patriotic War. Here visitors can find the interactive “Road of Memory” museum that contains a mosaic panel comprising 33 million photos of soldiers who took part in the war and its events on a day-by-day basis. This area has been equipped with 150 MR 33T nearfield, two-way speakers and L 2406 columns, while the museum also has three multimedia rooms where war chronicles or other films are shown, and those have been equipped with products from RCF’s C Series, including C 3108 and C 3110 speakers.

The arrival of the bells during construction
The arrival of the bells during construction

In addition to the loudspeaker components, ARIS specified a DiGiCo mixing system together with beyerdynamic microphones, a Biamp Tesira as the core of the audio system and Biamp’s Vocia as the emergency voice alarm system. A mobile speaker setup comprising RCF’s EVOX speakers has also been provided that can be moved to any location across the site.

Unsurprisingly for a project of this size, there were a number of challenges during the installation. Measuring 300m x 150m, the parade square in front of the cathedral is a large expanse of empty space with pylons sparsely located around the area, so the only option was for the engineers to mount the speakers on the pylons. As this is such a large, open expanse of land, the direction of the wind and how far the wind would blow the sound away were crucial components that had to be taken into consideration.

The Road of Memory museum
The Road of Memory museum

“We are pleased with the sound of the cathedral complex. We were afraid that it would be impossible to provide high SPLs in such a large area, but the RCF speakers cope extremely well,” states Boris Mikhailenko, project engineer at Avilex. “There are big events for thousands of soldiers that take place there regularly, and soldiers spill out of the church into the square. It was very important that they can all hear the speeches and prayers. Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, President Vladimir Putin and Minister of Defence Sergey Shoigu have all visited the site and given speeches and their words must be audible. It was mission-critical for this venue that SPLs and speech intelligibility were up to the job.

“The EASE simulation created by the ARIS engineers turned out to be correct. It was important to make the simulation not only in EASE Focus, but in EASE by AFMG, which calculates not only direct sound but reflexions from the ground as well,” furthers Mikhailenko. “The RCF speakers are so reliable – we use them outdoors in the whole of the Patriot Park. Rain, snow or Russian frosts are not a problem for RCF."

This feature appears in the March–April issue of Worship AVL. Subscribe at www.proavl-central.com/subscribe/worship



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