Founded in the late 1890s, Calvary Baptist Church has a long history in Salt Lake City, Utah and has more or less kept pace with technological advances.
However, the church’s 1990s sound reinforcement system lacked the power and clarity needed to maximise the impact of Calvary’s gospel musicians and vocalists, and the lack of a video system further dated the experience. All that has changed since Audio Video Electronics (AVE) of Maple Grove, Minnesota installed Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers, subwoofers and a thorough video system.
AVE performed an installation at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the needs and circumstances of Calvary Baptist Church were similar to those of Shiloh.
Kevin Crow, veteran sound designer and vice president of AVE, said: “Of course, sound system design should be determined by the worship style of the church and the acoustical properties of the room. At both Shiloh and Calvary, the worship style was high-energy. We needed to keep energy off the walls and, where possible, use acoustical treatments to absorb energy. Danley’s synergy-horn, full-range boxes deliver remarkable pattern control all the way down to 150 Hz, and Danley’s tapped-horn subwoofers are ideal for powerful low-frequency output. Few loudspeakers could function like a Danley in rooms similar to Shiloh or Calvary.”
Joe Lorence, lead designer and engineer for AVE and Stefan Svard, president of AVE came up with a plan to cover Calvary’s sanctuary with two tight-packed Danley SH-60 full-range loudspeakers. SM-96s were used for a front downfill, back delay and another was used for the sound booth and balanced with the main systems. Lorence generated an EASE Sound Coverage Plot to verify the design. Two Danley TH-118 subwoofers round out the low end, powered by ElectroVoice CPS-Series amplifiers. An ElectroVoice NetMax system provides DSP and system control. A Danley SH-100 covers a dedicated overflow space into the gym adjacent to the church. Two additional Danley SM-96 molded-horn loudspeakers provide a separate full-gym system with re-used JBL subs from the old sanctuary systems.
AVE’s instinct was to include a new sound booth on the main floor of the sanctuary, from which an operator could easily generate mixes on the new Allen & Heath iLive console system that would sound pleasing to the entire church. However, officials at Calvary Baptist insisted that the sound booth remain in an elevated position at the back of the room. Recognising that the quality of the new system would depend on the ability of the operator to generate mixes, AVE placed a delayed Danley SM-96 directly in front of the sound booth.
Crow stated: “We carefully implemented a gain structure that would give the operator the same volume and frequency response in the booth that the parishioners were getting on the floor. We even used two Tannoy Di6s and room mics to feed an ambience into the sound booth so it sounds like you’re on the main floor in the sound cubby. This is something we have never done before; we were surprised it worked so well.”
AVE also set out to improve the sound at Calvary Baptist with acoustical treatments. Absorptive panels at the back wall solve a slap and flutter problem, and the addition of batt insulation above the drop tile ceiling reduces the room’s reverb time. Harder ceiling tiles about the stage generate an early reflection. AVE instructed the church to build corner bass traps.
“Those traps suck all that low frequency energy in, but the people in the seats sure feel it first!” Crow said. “In addition, Danley’s synergy-horn design is so revolutionary, we don’t just use it in situations like Calvary, where we can provide acoustical treatments. The synergy-horn pattern response is so tight that we can keep energy off reflective surfaces in more traditional spaces.”
The church’s new video system is also said to be impressive. Three Vaddio ClearVIEW HD-19 robotic cameras with Vaddio ProductionVIEW HD control provide input. A Kramer VP-729 switcher/scaler then feeds a pair of Vivitek D6010 6000Lumen projectors, as well as the new Internet web streaming system. New lights complete Calvary Baptist’s new look. In addition, the church’s musicians have made the switch from wedges to an Avion personal monitor system, complete with Clark Synthesis tactile bass shakers.
Crow concluded: “Apart from the usual challenge of learning to navigate new equipment, the folks at Calvary Baptist are loving their new A/V system, nor are they being shy about using it to full capacity. If they want they can run that system at 105dB, C-weighted and the Danley loudspeakers sound amazing at high SPL.”
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