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Overcoming Structural and Aesthetic Challenges

Nov 19, 2013 12:27 PM


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Roots run deep at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, a cornerstone of the Cleveland community and worship since 1931. Over the years, the church’s pulpit has played host to such luminaries as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

But this congregation with a strong sense of tradition is equally forward thinking. The church’s 1,500-seat sanctuary, constructed in 1954, recently underwent an in-depth renovation, enhancing sound and vision with the addition of HD cameras, a switcher, and large-scale video screens, as well as a new Renkus-Heinz Varia modular point source loudspeaker system.

As Tom George, director of installations for installer Eighth Day Sound, explained, the sound reinforcement aspect of the project presented some unique challenges. “Although the exterior of the building has a peaked roof, the sanctuary’s ceiling is flat, and relatively low, only around 25ft. in height,” George said. “So going with a traditional line array would have created line-of-sight issues. Moreover, we were faced with a 400lbs. weight restriction, which made the design even more problematic.”

With a need to ensure musicality for both its traditional gospel choir and plugged-in bands, as well as high intelligibility for all spoken aspects of the program, Varia’s feature set seemed a good fit for the large, acoustically challenging space. With Varia’s modular and flexible enclosures, Eighth Day could create a system to deliver the coverage of a traditional line array, but using fewer cabinets, thereby decreasing weight, visual impact, and cost.

The flown system consists of six VAX101-7/6 (7.5 degree), two VAX101-22/69, and two VAX101-22 912 Varia loudspeakers. The result is powerful, even coverage across the congregation’s main floor and balcony, from the front rows to the rear wall 100ft. away.

PRODUCT AT WORK: Renkus-Heinz Varia

Varia VAX101 (externally powered) cabinets are available in 7.5-degree, 15-degree, and 22.5-degree enclosures, making them ideally suited for long vertical arrays or tightly packed horizontal configurations. Multiple waveguides include 60-, 90-, and 120-degree patterns, as well as proprietary progressive waveguides that can transition from 60 degrees to 90 degrees and 90 degrees to 120 degrees seamlessly within each cabinet.

Read more at The Wire



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