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AV for a Worship Sanctuary and Overfill Space, Part 1

Nov 8, 2012 9:17 AM, With Bennett

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So they had some place to hold services while the overhaul was happening in the sanctuary. What effect did the renovation have on the acoustics in the sanctuary? Did it help or did it end up making the new sound system more of a challenge?

It made it a lot more challenging. The old sanctuary had carpet down on the floor; also the walls were really old school; they had fake wooden beams and just different textured stucco, which kind of broke things up and diffused things a little bit and the carpet absorbed some of it. So it really wasn’t that bad sounding. What they went to was an all marble floor, all marble altar, hardwood walls, and it made it really tough. [Timestamp: 6:16]

So you probably had to go with more of a distributed sound system then.

Yeah, I felt a point source thing coming off the altar just wouldn’t work; it would probably put a little bit too much energy into the room causing a lot more reflections and reverb, and typically a Catholic church isn’t going to want to see a line array anyway. So I had to come up with a solution to do this, which again, distributed system didn’t have to be huge. There’s not a lot of program going through it, but it had to be real clear and distributed and delayed right. [Timestamp: 6:51]

OK and you went with Community Professional speakers. What was behind that choice?

I did go with Community and I’m so glad I did. They’re a great company. I’ve known them for years. Fortunately they’re only about 60 miles from us and I ran into their products lately a couple of different times. They’re a very specific speaker for very specific things. They do outdoor stadiums incredibly well, basketball arenas incredibly well, and then they do, like, the low powered theaters incredibly well. When they get into their competition, the high-powered line array stuff, that’s a different ball game. They don’t try to get into that market, and the beauty of it is they have a demo room 60 miles from here, so I took a ride up there with one of the owners, Johnny Grasso, and we went to their demo room and it’s just an incredible room. They have a four post truss system in there with everyone of their speakers mounted on it and all of their subs scattered on the floor and you sit down on these couches and there’s an engineer behind me with a computer and you point to the speaker and the sub that you want to hear together and he hits a button and it just programs the delay. It’s already preprogrammed, but it selects that speaker with the sub and you get a chance in a real controlled environment to hear it and the quality—the clarity was really what impressed me. [Timestamp: 8:10]

It’s great they can do that because you can go over specs on paper all day long, but when you can actually A-B test the different models first hand and hear it right in front of you. there’s really no substitute for that.

That’s what sold it to me, I’m telling you. I could of spec’d different systems until I was blue in the face and once I heard this product live I was sure it would work and their price point is just phenomenal so they got into the spec. That’s how that happened. [Timestamp: 8:34]

Where did you end up putting the amps? Did you have any difficult situations with the cabling or electrical grounding stuff in the new place?

[We had] lots of problems with grounding. Before we worked on the new sanctuary, we pumped music we tied into the new room audio and video feeds and I didn’t have quite enough light in the main sanctuary for the video to really be punchy in the new room. So I went in there one day to put in a couple of PAR cans from the choir loft just to see if that would work and I just pipe clamped them to the railing of the choir loft and when I plugged them in I got this huge buzz out of this existing system, which meant something was seriously wrong with their wiring because it was just a railing. [Timestamp: 9:20]

I hate when that happens!

Yeah, right?! So we had electricians come there and work all that out. We had to run [all the wiring] underneath the church. There’s only about 30 in. at the most of crawl space, so obviously my fat butt wasn’t going to get under there. The kid that did it was skinny and non-claustrophobic, I guess, but it was a tight squeeze under there and he had to pull a lot of cable. The amplifiers are in a Middle Atlantic product rack and they built us a closet for that and everything just came up through the floor into there and that’s how we did that. [Timestamp: 9:59]

Well, I’m sure that wasn’t a dull time with all the fun with the cable and grounding. I’m sure they loved the way the new place looked, but they probably didn’t spend a whole lot of time considering the acoustical implications. Thanks for giving us the details on this one Bobby and in part two we’ll get into the video stuff and the wireless mics and all that. It’s Bobby Harper from ACIR Pro in Egg Harbor Township, N.J. We’ll see you then.


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