The sanctuary of the church of the Salvation Army in Clearwater, FL, was recently outfitted with a new sound reinforcement system by Florida-based CSI: Christian Sound Installations that is headed by
Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers, subwoofers, monitors and processing.
“The main trouble with the old system was a profound lack of intelligibility together with deeply uneven coverage,” explains Paul Garner of CSI. “It started out as a tight-packed center cluster of horn-loaded cabinets, and the church paid someone too much money to explode the cluster out. Instead of improving intelligibility, the ‘fix’ led to even worse interference.
“It was hard to understand what was being said from any seat, and it was truly impossible to understand what was being said in the front rows and the back corners. When they asked me to assess the situation, I modeled the room in EASE and determined that there was no configuration of the existing speakers that would lead to even marginally acceptable performance.”
Because the church officials had not heard of Danley Sound Labs, Garner brought in a pair of Danley SM-60F molded loudspeakers on poles and set them up on stage. The head of the church, Captain Zach Bell, walked around with a microphone and quickly determined that the pair of Danley loudspeakers on poles was already outperforming the existing system.
“I told him, ‘wait until we engineer it correctly so that the energy is focused on the congregation and not the walls,’” Garner says. The permanent system adds little complication to the simplicity of the demo. From a custom-designed truss on the wooden ceiling, Garner tightly packed two Danley SM-96 full-range loudspeakers rotated 90-degrees in order to provide 120-degrees of horizontal coverage. A pair of Danley SM-60Fs provide side fill from the same location.
“I initially thought that the church might want to forego a subwoofer because the services don’t include bass-heavy instruments and the congregation is composed of individuals who are, on average, older,” says Garner. “But Captain Bell said that, without detracting from the service for the older members, the church was eager to welcome a younger generation. And a contemporary sound, with a full bottom end, would be part of the attraction.”
Garner coupled a Danley TH-212 subwoofer to the ceiling and powered it with an Electro-Voice Q1212 amplifier. “During tuning, we had the subwoofer cranked up, and it was literally shaking the building,” he laughed. “But of course I backed it down. Now it fills things in and rounds out the response… with tons of headroom.”
For the rest of the loudspeakers, Garner re=purposed the church’s rack of Crown power amplifiers, and an analog Midas console still resides at front of house.
But backing the new loudspeakers and subwoofer is a new Danley DSLP48 signal processor that Garner pressed to its fullest extent. The unit has four inputs and eight outputs, and only two inputs and three outputs were needed for the main system. He used several of the additional outputs to feed the existing systems in the overflow rooms, lobby, and cry room.
“We used the Danley processor to equalize and time align all of those spaces,” explains Garner. “Now, when the sanctuary doors are open and you walk into the lobby, you hear just one coherent sound. It all hangs together nicely.” Because the Danley DSLP48 easily connects to a laptop for programming, Garner was able to start tuning the system from a rough template that he had created off-site.
With such radical improvements in the sanctuary, Captain Bell asked Garner to consider the sound system in the adjoining gymnasium, which is used almost every day for community events and meetings – in addition to regular use for indoor sports.
“When I suggested replacing their collection of beefy-looking double-15 cabinets with just two smaller-looking Danley SH-100s, they stared at me like I was crazy,” says Garner. “But the sound of the two Danley boxes, together with the existing amps and 1/3-octave EQ, is much bigger and truer than the sound of the old boxes. And as a bonus, the single point-source design of the SH-100 makes the system vastly more resistant to feedback.”
The changes at the Salvation Army Church in Clearwater are obvious to the congregants. “An octogenarian approached me after one of the first services with the new system,” Garner notes. “He said, ‘I sat back in the corner where before I couldn’t understand anything that was being said, but now I can hear everything clear as a bell.’”
The church is so happy with the performance of the Danley boxes that when the onstage musicians requested a similar upgrade, they approached Garner and asked if Danley made monitors as well. Garner obliged, installing a Danley SH-100M monitor on each side of the stage. “We also took an aux feed from the Midas into the Danley DSLP48 processor,” he adds. “In addition to some subtle equalization, that allowed me to time align the monitor system as well.”