Founded in the late 1890s, Calvary Baptist Church in Salt Lake City has long been noted for its high-energy gospel services.
The sanctuary’s 1990s-era sound reinforcement system lacked the power and clarity needed to maximize the impact of Calvary’s gospel musicians and vocalists, with Audio Video Electronics of Maple Grove, MN recently providing an upgrade headed by Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers.
Not long ago, AVE performed an installation at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in St. Paul, MN, and the needs and circumstances of Calvary Baptist Church were similar to those of Shiloh.
“Of course, sound system design should be determined by the worship style of the church and the acoustical properties of the room,” explained Kevin Crow, veteran sound designer and vice president of AVE. “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 design 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.
An SM-96 was used for a front downfill and another SM-96 for a back delay. Another SM-96 was used for the sound booth and balanced with the main system. Lorence generated an EASE Sound Coverage Plot to verify the design.
Two Danley TH-118 subwoofers bolster the low end, powered by Electro-Voice CPS Series amplifiers, with EV NetMax providing DSP and system control. The two TH-118s are capable of literally shaking the entire building.
A Danley SH-100 covers a dedicated overflow space into the gym adjacent to the sanctuary. Two additional Danley SM-96 molded-horn loudspeakers provide a separate full-gym system with re-used JBL subs from the old sanctuary system.
AVE’s first instinct and recommendation 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 mixing system that would sound pleasing to the entire church.
However, the church insisted that the sound booth remain in an elevated position at the back of the room, so AVE placed a delayed Danley SM-96 directly in front of the booth for accurate monitoring of the main system.
“Then 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,” Crow adds. “We even used two Tannoy Di6s and room mics to feed an ‘ambience’ into the sound both so it sounds like you’re on the main floor in the sound cubby.
“This is something we have never done before, and we were surprised it worked so well.”
AVE also improved 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 considerably. Harder ceiling tiles above the stage generate a pleasant early reflection.
Perhaps more importantly, however, 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 says.
“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.”
“Apart from the usual challenge of learning to navigate new equipment, the folks at Calvary Baptist are loving their new A/V system,” concludes Crow. “If they want, they can run the system at 105dB, C-weighted, and the Danley loudspeakers sound amazing at high SPL.”
Danley Sound Labs
Audio Video Electronics