Jan 18, 2012 1:07 PM, By Carolyn Heinze
5 line array challenges
The Slim, Highly Reflective Footprint
Housed on McDaniel College’s 160-acre campus in Westminster, Md., the Baker Memorial Chapel is one of the busiest facilities on the grounds. Built in 1958, the wood-panel and plaster chapel is used for worship services, concerts, presentations, baccalaureate and invocation ceremonies, weddings, memorial services, and speaking events.
When college administrators decided to replace the loudspeaker system, they recognized that the historic chapel’s highly reflective surfaces would present a number of issues in achieving the desired sound intelligibility. It was paramount, however, that any new system wouldn’t compromise the room’s aesthetic makeup. The challenge fell to Hagerstown, Md.-based audio/video contractor DSL Sound.
Robert Musser, sales consultant at DSL Sound, says that first thing he and his team did was take acoustical measurements of the space. From there, they began modeling the room with EASE acoustical modeling software, based on systems by three different manufacturers. “The client sat down and looked at the scoring from our EASE simulation along with the baseline of how the current system was performing, and from there they decided how much they wanted to invest in the new system,” he says. “The Community system was not at the highest or lowest price point, but it had a very nice, even distribution of sound and intelligibility, and we were able to feel quite confident going into this situation.”
Community Professional’s Entasys is a three-way column line array system encased in a compact design. For the Baker Memorial Chapel, DSL Sound installed two sets of three Entasys ENT-FR loudspeakers on each side of the proscenium, in addition to two Veris 210S subwoofers—powered by Crown CDI amplifiers—to cover the main floor. A London BLU-100 processor controls the system, and a 16-channel mixing console is used for musical performances.
In working with representatives from Community Professional, Musser determined that more speakers were better than less. “When I developed my EASE model with Community and said, ‘Here’s what I’m planning,’ they originally thought that I could get away with fewer boxes instead of having three per side; they thought I could get away with two,” he explains. “We were able to confirm that the room’s reverberation was a little lower in frequency; we saw a lot of energy traveling around the midsection.” A longer array offered more control over that part of the spectrum without exciting the room as much.
To adhere to the college’s aesthetic requirements, DSL Sound painted the speaker boxes to fit in with the rest of the chapel’s off-white décor. “These line arrays have a nice slim footprint, which helps to sell these products to the client,” Musser says. “Paintable products are always valued.” Mounted under the platform, the bass speakers are now hidden by a decorative grille. “You really have to look for the grille mark. Keeping a small footprint with good output is a real benefit.”
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