Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines (February 9, 2015)—When Pope Francis visited the Philippines in mid-January, hundreds of thousands of followers came out to see the Pontiff and hear his words. Helping make that happen along the way were regional live sound providers Montejo Sound and Modular Display, Inc. of Quezon City, which were faced with multiple events, including covering nearly 35 acres for a mass at the Romualdez Airport. The sound system for the event required almost a week of preparation, in part because Tacloban was ravaged last year by Super Typhoon Haiyan.
Modular Display’s president, Alvin Quisumbing, and his team had planned to mix front-of-house on a PreSonus StudioLive 32.4.2AI console, with a StudioLive RM32AI rack-mount digital mixer as the backup. However, a threatening Category 2 typhoon convinced them to change plans and use the more easily protected StudioLive RM32AI rack system at front-of-house, with the 32.4.2AI console as the backup. The console’s subgroup delays were also used to time-correct the remote speakers.
Mon Montejo of Montejo Sound 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,” notes 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.”
Soon after, the Pope met with Catholic religious orders at the Palo Cathedral in Tacloban City, which the two sound companies were also involved in. There, the sound system 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,” explains 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.”