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Cleveland’s Olivet Baptist Church Implements Renkus-Heinz VARIA

Point-source loudspeakers help overcome unique challenges

By PSW Staff August 26, 2013

New Renkus-Heinz VARIA arrays in place at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland

Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, a cornerstone of Cleveland community and worship since 1931, recently underwent a significant renovation, a process that includes implementation of new Renkus-Heinz VARIA modular point-source loudspeakers in its current sanctuary, which was built in 1954.

Tom George, director of installations for Eighth Day Sound, which handled the project, explains that the sound reinforcement aspect presented some unique challenges.

“Although the exterior of the building has a peaked roof, the sanctuary’s ceiling is flat, and relatively low—only around 25 feet in height. So going with a traditional line array would have created line-of-sight issues,” George says. “Moreover, we were faced with a 400-pound weight restriction, which made the design even more problematic.”

With a need to ensure musicality for both its traditional gospel choir and plugged-in bands, as well as high intelligibility for all spoken aspects of the program, VARIA’s feature set seemed a good fit for the large, acoustically challenging space.

With VARIA’s modular and flexible enclosures, Eighth Day could create a system to deliver the coverage of a traditional line array, but using fewer cabinets, thereby decreasing weight, visual impact, and cost. 

The flown loudspeaker set consists of six VAX 101-7/6 (7.5 degree), two VAX101-22/69, and two VAX101-22 912 loudspeakers. The result is powerful, even coverage across the congregation’s main floor and balcony, from the front rows to the rear wall 100 feet away.

“When we listened to the box, we were convinced,” George states. “VARIA met the challenge – it delivered the coverage we needed, along with the power and performance. It looks great, and it sounds great.” 

Olivet’s recent improvements mark phase one of an ongoing, in-depth renovation, which also includes the addition of HD cameras, a switcher, and large-scale video screens. Next on the agenda is improved lighting and web streaming next. 

Over the years, the church’s pulpit has played host to such luminaries as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey.

Eighth Day Sound


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