North Davis Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas, more than 100 years old, recently replaced its loudspeaker system with three Renkus-Heinz ICONYX digitally steerable arrays in a unique configuration designed to complement the church’s new video screens as the first stage of a complete sanctuary renovation.
The church’s congregation has grown continually since its foundation on a vacant lot in 1907, but acapella vocal music continues to be a strong part of its tradition. Minister of Music and Worship D. J. Bulls, a prominent arranger whose choral and worship arrangements are sung in churches across the country, directs the praise teams and the Celebration Choir, and also coordinates media for worship assemblies.
Taipale Media Systems (TMS) designed the new systems. Principal Consultant Curt Taipale, who measured the highly reverberant room, says: “This is a 1,000 seat, 220 degree-wide fan-shaped auditorium, in which the RT60 ranges from 2.6 seconds at 125 Hz to 1.3 seconds at 2 kHz.”
The renovated room features a pair of video screens that form a large V-shaped wall above and behind the stage. Working with Renkus-Heinz Senior Applications Engineer Jim Mobley, TMS used the point of the V as the mounting location for an Iconyx IC32 array.
Taipale adds: “That position puts the main loudspeaker roughly 12 feet above and 20 feet behind the pulpit, which would have been a problem if it weren’t for the tight vertical pattern control of the IC32, which has a clear line of sight over the head of the orator, and into the first row of pews.”
Two IC7 fixed-beam Iconyx arrays extend coverage to the far side seating areas, picking up where the center IC32 leaves off. A pair of Bag End D18E-AD subwoofers provide the low end support needed for bass vocal parts, and for concerts. Two Renkus-Heinz TRX81/12s are used as low-profile floor monitors.
All of the passive loudspeakers are powered by a Lab.gruppen C28:4 amplifier, with a Biamp Nexia SP for system tuning. To conserve the church’s resources, TMS retained the existing Mackie SR32 mixing console.
“The Iconyx system provides high intelligibility and an intimate sound character for both speech and sung vocals without the ‘in your face’ sound character that different loudspeakers might provide,” says Taipale. “And it didn’t hurt that the Iconyx system came in at one-third the cost of the alternate design approach – a center cluster and supporting under balcony delay ring.”
He adds: “Its combination of wide horizontal coverage with tightly controlled vertical beams also allowed us to improve the sound quality dramatically with no additions to the existing acoustic treatment.” Acoustic finishes designed to support the congregation’s singing will be added in a future upgrade.
The system was installed by Summit Integrated Systems of Lafayette, Colorado, which has successfully bid on many TMS designs across the country and knows Iconyx technology well. EASERA SysTune live sound measurement software provided an objective reference, with measurements of reverb times and real-time STI calculations in addition to frequency response and SPL measurements.
Contractor, consultant and manufacturer coordinated to ensure the two-day installation caused no disruption to worship services, with fine-tuning by Renkus-Heinz Application Engineer Jonas Domkus, Curt Taipale and Summit President/CEO Chris Rayburn, who notes the wall mounted Iconyx and easy wiring helped speed the installation in a building not designed for a conventional system and with limited ceiling access.
Wayne Rowan, co-leader of North Davis’ AV Ministry, summarises: “Our experience with the Iconyx speakers and associated equipment has been spotless, and Curt and Summit could not have done a better job. It is rare to have engineers and contractors do such an outstanding job.”
His co-leader, Shane Webster, adds: “Speaking on stage is a more pleasant experience because sound that’s echoed back to the stage has been decreased due to the aiming capability of Iconyx. I think the biggest compliment to the system has been the number of assisted listening devices that are no longer being used because words can be understood much more easily.”
Minister of Music and Worship D. J. Bulls is also pleased with the outcome: “It has far exceeded our expectations in every way,” he says. “It brings a new energy to our worship space; the sound is crystal clear, intelligible, and adds a great deal of vibrancy to both the spoken word and our music, with each vocal part extremely clear.” He adds: “ I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Iconyx, Curt Taipale or the guys from Summit to anyone.”