Located in the mid-sized city of Albany in southwest Georgia, Sherwood Baptist Church is well known for trailblazing new approaches. Its large campus gives the Albany community an immersive Christian experience: the Sherwood Christian Academy serves students in kindergarten through high school, and the church organizes and hosts plenty of community-wide activities, classes, and events beyond just the Sunday service.
Recently, dB Integrations, of Gainesville, Georgia, updated the sound reinforcement systems in three of its spaces – the school gym, the school theater, and the church gym – using Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers for improved intelligibility and musical impact.
“The old sound system in the school gym was a product of old school ‘grab-some-speakers-from-the-music-store-and-call-it-good’ thinking,” explains Neil Philpott, sales consultant at dB Integrations. “When it was on, you could tell that something was being amplified, but 75% of the audience had no idea what was being said. Mama wasn’t made proud when her kid’s number was called because she simply couldn’t hear it. The church decided to improve that situation when the work could coincide with the refurbishing of the floors and the installation of additional bleachers.
“Of course, they wanted solid intelligibility across all the bleachers on both sides of the court,” Philpott continues. “But they also aspired to have great music playback because they expect to host more events with praise and worship music in the school gym. With most loudspeaker manufacturers, there is a bad trade-off between intelligibility and musical playback: better intelligibility usually means more sterile-sounding music, and better musical impact usually means less intelligibility. But Danley is a rare exception. The nature of Danley’s patented technologies allows Danley boxes to reproduce input with perfect phase coherence such that there’s no trade-off: the Danley boxes deliver intelligibility and musical impact simultaneously.”
He continues, “The other big advantage of using Danley boxes in a situation like this is that Danley pattern control is excellent and extends octaves deeper than other manufacturers. Thus, we were able to position the boxes such that almost all the energy falls on ears and avoids the walls and ceiling. That contributes to the system’s excellent intelligibility.”
The mono system is elegant in its simplicity: four Danley SM100 loudspeakers cover the bleachers, two to a side, with a fifth SM100 firing straight down over center court. An additional Danley TH115 subwoofer flown over center court fills out the deep low-end content for the entire room.
“We had some of the tech guys, who normally run the church’s big sanctuary system, attend our set up procedures. They were blown away by how much honest low end this system was able to deliver,” Philpott said. “They said we were outperforming the bass in the main sanctuary by nearly a full octave.” BiAmp Nexia processing, Crown XTi-Series amplifiers, and a portable Allen & Heath console complete the system for a huge number of configurations and event types.
Sherwood Christian Academy’s theater is a former cafeteria that flexibly seats about two hundred. Its original sound reinforcement system relied on a lot of analog processing that was never safe from the busy fingers of the students who cycled through the tech positions year-after-year. dB Integrations’ straightforward replacement uses a stereo set of Danley SM100 loudspeakers, each with its own Danley THmini subwoofer.
“Again, Danley’s great pattern control helped a lot, this time giving the school excellent gain-before-feedback,” Philpott says. “They had their first performance two weeks after we completed the work, and they had a ton of students on stage with open mics. There were no feedback problems, and you could hear what every student was saying without straining. Music sounds awesome on the system, and the technical director at the church commented that the school’s theater is now the best-sounding room at Sherwood, big-time sanctuary included.”
To keep busy fingers from upsetting the balance, Philpott used an Ashly 3.6SP Protea DSP processor. “I go with Ashly pretty much any time I need a straightforward DSP,” Philpott continues. “Ashly DSPs are a great value, and they have all of the DSP functionality I need for a small to medium sized system alignment. Moreover, Ashly DSPs are super reliable – we’ve integrated dozens of them and I honestly don’t remember a single one getting called for service! Of course, the ability to lock out the controls is great for a situation where students might otherwise feel the urge to adjust system settings that are room-to-system dependent and thus misalign the overall speaker system.”
The gym at Sherwood Baptist Church has bleacher seating only on one side; however, there are occasions where they may sit students along the entire court floor during other non-sports events. dB Integrations covered it with three Danley SM100’s and angled them such that their patterns extend from end to end and out to mid-court. In addition, a Danley TH115 subwoofer hangs at center court. Again, Crown XTi-Series amplifiers power the system with processing from another Ashly 3.6SP.
“The church had suffered with a terrible sound system in the gym for nearly fifteen years,” Philpott says. “It’s a shame, because they realized it was insufficient for their overall needs and goals when it was originally installed. But a church can’t pick up and replace a bad system next year; they’re stuck with it. It makes integrating these Danley systems even more gratifying: not only do we give them great sound, we relieve them of anxiety giving technical ministry partner’s like Sherwood Baptist and Sherwood Christian Academy the confidence that they’ll have a fantastic system for years to come.”