The Pentecostal Church of Memphis had outgrown the 1,000-seat building that had been the church’s home for the past 15 years, and new land a few miles away was already in its possession.
Everyone was excited to break ground for a new building, but there was one snag: the same economic forces that have made selling a home so difficult have also cast a pall over the church market. Without a buyer for its current facility, the church was stuck in its current location.
Much of the excitement over moving to a new location sprung from a desire to leave the existing building’s many problems behind, not the least of which was a decades-old sound system with a tendency to blast some seats while barely whispering to others.
If the church had had no intentions of moving, it would have been a slam-dunk case for buying a new sound system.
“Although the system was perhaps the best it could have been given technology and the church’s budget 15 years ago, many components were in constant distortion, and the coverage was abysmal,” explains Curt Taipale, president of Taipale Media Systems and designer of the sound system for the new, still-in-the-planning building.
A year prior, the church had approached Taipale with a very specific concern: the sound system was completely incapable of reinforcing the choir without feedback, and he recommended replacement microphones, properly positioned. The difference was startling and immediate - the choir was present, loud and authoritative.
“It was that same thought process that went into the decision to replace the existing sound system,” says Taipale. “They wanted it loud, but clear, and with even coverage. With an unknown departure date, the church reasoned that they had tortured themselves long enough. The church and its accomplished band and choir deserved better. In addition, the vibe from a top-tier sound system might help sell the property in the same way that a new coat of paint can help sell a house.”
Summit Integrated Systems installed the Taipale-designed system, which is headed by four Danley Sound Labs SH-50 full-range loudspeakers covering the main floor in an exploded mono arc, each with a Renkus-Heinz TRX81/9 for downfill. Four Bag End TA6000S loudspeakers provide front fill.
Five delayed Danley SH-95 full-range loudspeakers cover the upper balcony with appropriate dispersion beam widths, while eight more TRX81/9s cover the under balcony.
(Our Photo Gallery of this project provides several views of the loudspeaker set.)
“In the ‘pre-Danley days,’ I used to be able to get away with just a mid-high box for the choir monitor,” remarks Taipale. “The low-end wrap around from the main speakers was sufficient to fill in the bottom. With Danley’s low-end directivity, those days are gone. For this church, I used two Danley SH-95s for choir monitors for clarity. The wonderful trade-off, of course, is that gain-before-feedback with the Danley system is amazing and it arrays seamlessly.”
Taipale also specified two Danley TH-115 subwoofers to sit beneath the front platform, with carpenters building a custom stage extension to accommodate them.
Biamp Nexia providings digital processing and routing, while Lab.Gruppen C-series power amplifiers drive the loudspeakers. Topping it all off is a new Allen & Heath GL2400 mixing console.
“This new loudspeaker system provides clear, full, even sound coverage across all seating areas, with plenty of ‘weight’ from the subwoofers. That in turn means that the system doesn’t have to be driven
excessively loud to enjoy,” concludes Taipale.