The specifics of this project may be of interest to those who face sound quality issues or are considering upgrading older, existing PA systems.
One of the obstacles that had always stood in the way of optimum sound for Vinton Baptist was the shape and dimension of the sanctuary itself, a 100ft. long room with a ceiling of 43ft. at the apex. Up until now, there had been no padding on the pews or carpeting on the floor. It was a highly reverberant space.
Vinton’s previous system consisted of a three-way, full-range speaker hung center at the apex, with a couple of floor monitors at left and right locations to help fill the front. For aesthetic reasons, the church did not want to consider arrayed loudspeakers. “The center speaker would have worked well in the proper environment but because it was so far up, it did not have much control,” said Jim Hogan, sales and project manager for the install company, Newcomb Communications. “The sound was thrown from more than 40ft. up, causing dispersion problems with almost 4 seconds of reverberation time. The high frequency coverage was fairly adequate but there was virtually no low frequency control.” The church suffered significant gain before feedback problems with this system. Another obstacle was the location of the sound console, positioned at the very back of the room in a loft which was fifteen feet above the intended coverage area.
“I was able to educate the church about some of the changes in technology over the past few years. They were tired of not being able to solve their sound problems and were open to new solutions,” commented Hogan. “We were able to get them to agree to let us lower the center cluster so we were throwing at 30 rather than 42ft. and we moved the mix position down into the house. They also added padding to the pews and installed carpet. These concessions helped the situation tremendously.
“For the new sound system, we used a LCR design. For the center cluster, we hung 6 NEXO GEO S805 Tangent Array Modules and 1 GEO S830. We used the NX241 processor and controller and powered the system with a Camco Vortex 6 Amplifier. The folks at NEXO helped with the array for the center. The diagram shown was produced by Joe Rimstidt, their Technical Director. He laid the design out based on the information I gave him about the room. We were facing some rigging problems however, because the tongue and groove ceiling could not support much weight and had no overhead access. To attach it we used Unistrut, lots of lag bolts, and airline cable along with the NEXO rigging system.
“Another challenge we faced was that, during the renovation, the widest opening into the room was 60 inches. We had to get up to 42 feet so we had to get a special lift that was 59 inches wide. It took us three hours to get it into the building! We had to get the center cluster up, rigged, and tested while there was no carpet and all the pews were removed. In spite of this, the sound was surprisingly good. Once the system was in place, the quality of the coverage and coherence was impressive.
“We did the first two services without even EQing the room. You could tell that the drop off of the coverage pattern matched exactly with what had been predicted.
“For the left and right we used an EV FRX 940 B Loudspeaker and a QRX 118 B Subbass Unit on each side. The choir comes in LCR through all the speakers and it sounds great. We needed a certain amount of control from the left and right speakers and the EV boxes have great pattern control down to about 500hz. To power them we used the EV Contractor Series CP3 Power Amplifiers.”
There are two services every Sunday morning at Vinton Baptist. One is contemporary and the other more traditional. In the past, between services, they have had to change things around and reset the console because there was a limited number of inputs. Once a year they put on a big production which required even more inputs. As a solution to this problem, Hogan convinced the church that they needed a larger console. They chose the Crest X Eight 40 Channel. To house the new console the church commissioned a large, custom-made roll-top desk by HSA. Another matching desk was ordered for the computer workstation adjacent to the console. “They are well-crafted and beautiful.” said Hogan.
For the choir, Hogan selected 4 Shure KSM27/SL microphones and placed them on stands. In addition, eight Shure ULXP 24/87 hand-held wireless mics will be used for the praise singers who lead sing-alongs for the church. The pastor will use a Countrymen E 6 Headset. “When the pastor is delivering a sermon,” reflects Hogan, “it sounds like you are in an intimate conversation with him. To be able to achieve that much naturalness in a space of this size is extraordinary. The sound problems of Vinton Baptist Church are over.”