With a heritage dating back to its mid-1800s beginnings as the First Baptist Church of Springdale, Arkansas, Cross Church today spans four campuses throughout Northwest Arkansas and Southwest Missouri. The church’s embrace of technology and innovation now includes a sound system featuring Bose Professional ShowMatch loudspeakers at the main campus in Springdale.
Attaining good sound with consistent audio coverage of the wide sanctuary presented a significant challenge for the church’s technical staff. The fan-shaped auditorium seats 2,400, with 750 seats in an expansive balcony, 300 seats in each of the room’s dramatic side “spillways” that flow down from the balcony height to the floor, and five sections of seating on the floor.
The church’s old audio system was a left-center-right monaural configuration installed at the last room remodeling in 2002. Even with significant DSP treatment, the old system still left some seats in the sanctuary with less than optimal sound. “To move us forward, a great sounding system that would provide uniform coverage was what we were looking for,” recalls Leo McGriff, director of technical services for Cross Church. McGriff brought in audio experts Diversified, headquartered in Kenilworth, N.J. to assess the situation and make recommendations.
Diversified recommended that McGriff audition the Bose ShowMatch system and set up a demonstration of the more compact ShowMatch DeltaQ array loudspeakers at Springdale. “With just a single hang and the older Bose RoomMatch RMS218 subs, coverage was amazing,” recalls McGriff.
Diversified and McGriff worked closely with Bose specialists, who used Bose Modeler room acoustic simulation and field mapping software along with the ShowMatch Array Design Tool to design a new system and accurately predict its acoustic performance in the sanctuary.
To maximize audio clarity and coverage in the sanctuary, the team decided on a monaural system employing four array hangs with two inner arrays of 10 ShowMatch modules being dedicated to covering floor seating and center balcony area while two outer arrays of eight ShowMatch modules cover side seating areas and the balcony. “The height of the array hangs was critical in covering the hard-to-reach balcony seats and allowed for the removal of 14 balcony fills speakers,” says McGriff.
For the Springdale sanctuary, a combination of 36 ShowMatch array modules with 5-, 10- and 20-degree vertical dispersions was configured with 70-, 100- and 110-degree horizontal waveguides to provide the precise variations in coverage needed for the seating areas and to complement its contemporary worship services. Six Bose RoomMatch RMU206 front fill speakers were installed to localize sound to the stage for the closest seats.
In all, 66 modules were installed, including 24 ShowMatch SMS118 single-18-inch woofers that extend the system’s response down to 29 Hz. To drive the system, 27 Bose PowerMatch PM8500N power amplifiers equipped with Toslink network cards were installed to power the system and configured with Bose ControlSpace Designer software.
“When we initially brought the system up, I was overwhelmed by the sound,” recalls McGriff. “The audio was extremely clear and present, with nothing in it that sounded distant.” McGriff is also pleased with the system’s uniform coverage. “It’s solid,” he says, “from the first seat in the room to the top of the balcony.”
“Being leaders in innovation for worship is oftentimes challenging,” concludes McGriff, “but it’s also very rewarding. The addition of the ShowMatch system for audio has certainly brought us into the 21st century.”