A Martin Audio O-Line micro line array system was recently installed by Audio-Video Group (Frederick, MD) in Washington DC’s historic Capitol Hill Baptist Church that’s grown under the stewardship of current pastor Dr. Mark Dever and is regularly visited by high-ranking government officials.
Audio-Video Group was called in for an initial consultation regarding an audio upgrade about four years ago. Following that, and subsequent product demos, the church hired a consultant to further the system design, with Audio-Video Group noted as the original designer and fully engaged in the entire process.
“They had an old and failing sound system that was never properly designed for the space to begin with, so they wanted the right solution for what is a very uniquely shaped venue because it’s been added on to over the years,” explains John Pierce, director of sales for Audio-Video Group. “The shape of the worship area is predominantly wide — about 150 feet — and seats from 900 to 1,200 people. We wanted a system to provide the church with speech intelligibility and exceptional music reproduction as well as consistent sound coverage front to back and side to side. Also, ease of use because all of their team is 100-percent volunteer — they don’t have a professional sound engineer.”
Matt Merker, pastoral assistant for the church, adds, “Our sound system hadn’t been updated in 30 years, which resulted in uneven coverage depending on where you were seated and a lack of intelligibility for speech. We needed more even coverage and better clarity because it was disheartening that our preacher and singers worked hard to prepare meaningful worship services, and our congregants might not hear or understand what they were saying. Instead, they would be spending mental energy just to hear versus being in the moment and experiencing the message.”
The system incorporates of two stacks of 12 Martin Audio O-Line boxes per side, flown above the platform. There are also two smaller stacks of two O-Line loudspeakers for delays that cover the West Hall of the church and the library, which is used for overflow seating. The mains are powered by a Martin Audio iK81 amplifier with 4-box resolution.
“The church was never acoustically treated so it’s very live sounding and reactive,” Pierce says. “That, plus it’s a very historical space, so there’s a lack of cable pathways and an attic that’s over 100 years old. They were also very particular about choosing an integrator with experience working in historical spaces which is what we’re known for.”
Merker concludes: “Before we completed the project, our sound was irregular. With the help of Audio-Video Group and our new system, the volume is consistently louder, the speech has a more polished sound, and our volunteers don’t have to work as hard covering up errors. There are fewer distractions, and that’s a huge benefit. Audio-Video Group was extremely responsive to all of our questions, the staff who installed were conscientious, easy to work with and we highly commend them for their personnel.”