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Electro-Voice Components The Key To System Upgrade At Historic Tulsa Church

Boston Avenue Church required an upgrade that wouldn’t compromise its renowned aesthetics

By PSW Staff September 9, 2009

An exterior view of the Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and site of a recent system upgrade.

Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma, recently received an extensive upgrade to its sound system, courtesy of Oklahoma City-based AV-interiors.

The church, one of Tulsa’s Art Deco jewels, was built in 1925 and designed by Frank Lloyd Wright protégé Bruce Goff, and the building is included in the United States’ National Register of Historic Places.

Because of its cultural and architectural significance, Boston Avenue church required an upgrade that wouldn’t compromise its renowned aesthetics.

“The church wanted to keep the room intact; they didn’t want to see a single piece of technology, which presented some challenges, because we had to figure out where to place the loudspeakers, etc.,” explains Colby Bramlett, co-owner of AV-interiors. “At first, it seemed like hanging a line array wouldn’t be an option.”

“Then we decided to work with the cavity behind the church’s wooden façade structure,” Bramlett adds, “which is behind the choir loft and wraps around the entire stage for the organ.

“We designed an XLE181 system — EV’s most compact line array – of 10 boxes per side, to be flown behind that façade. The boxes just barely fit in there, but we were able to mount them completely hidden by the decorative, perforated woodwork that’s been in the church for decades, while ensuring the system provided complete coverage for the room.”

The system at Boston Avenue also features four FRi-2082 ultra-compact, two-way, dual 8-inch, low-ceiling/low-profile, full-range loudspeakers for front-fills that wrap around the front of the stage behind more decorative woodwork.

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Also included are two XS212 (2 x 12-inch) subs under the stage and two sets of FRI-2082 delays.

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The system is powered by EV’s new Q Series amps and processed by a NetMax N8000 digital matrix controller controlled wirelessly from Front of House.

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“NetMax controls all of the loudspeakers,” says Marcus Walker, System Designer and co-owner of AV-interiors. “We have the line array divided into three control sections with additional control over subs, front-fill and the two sections of delay, along with minimal fill beneath the balcony.

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“We ended up using a 24-channel Midas Venice console at FOH, because the church’s volunteer team was used to running an analog console, and we thought the Venice would make for the easiest transition. They’re a very traditional church – choir, organ, piano – so the system doesn’t require many inputs. “

What they needed was a good clean sound, and the warm preamps on the Midas do the job perfectly for them.”

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“The feedback we’ve gotten from everyone at the church has been extremely positive,” adds Bramlett. “From where the church has come from –1960s-era speakers – the difference with state-of-the-art technology is very noticeable; the congregation is very excited to be able to hear now.

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“Plus there’s no aesthetic difference in the sanctuary, and that’s exactly what we and the church wanted. We accomplished everything we needed to with this installation.”

“I think that EV’s XLE equipment is superb” says Walker. “Using EV engineering – NetMax, amps, speakers – we were very easily able to predict the performance of the speakers and what was going to happen as far as fine tuning the product to the room was concerned.

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“Everything was very, very easy. And having the expertise of EV’s tech support team as a resource was a great added value – they knew exactly how each piece of equipment would react individually and as a whole – and made our job really smooth.

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“Huge props to EV for all their help, it couldn’t have been any easier.”

Electro-Voice Website

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