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Singing Praises of Superior Sound
By: Roger Maycock

After years of struggling with uneven sound coverage and unsightly surface mount loudspeakers, Pastor Dr. R. Larry Brown and senior management of Victory Baptist Church in North Augusta, South Carolina, knew they wanted an entirely different approach to sound reinforcement for their new sanctuary. The church, which over the past 26 years has grown to become a thriving organization with a comprehensive range of ministries, sought the expertise of Orangeburg, South Carolina-based Templeton Sound to assist them in their quest for the right solution.

A Challenging Space
The new sanctuary, which saw its dedication service in March 2006, has a bold and highly distinctive architectural design. With seating for approximately 2,400 worshippers, the space features a large stage area with a motorized drop curtain. The seating area is just over 270 feet wide and 180 feet in length, with a sharply inclined stadium seating section that spans the entire back wall of the facility. With the sanctuary's width being greater than its length, even sound dispersion on the far sides of the space presented the Templeton Sound team with a unique challenge.

Compounding this challenge was the fact that the church has a highly ambitious music program that includes a 160-voice choir accompanied by a sizeable band. The services might best be described as an energetic camp meeting style of worship. Hence, the new sound system would have to be capable of supporting the demands of live music in addition to speech.

Making the Case for Line Arrays
Templeton Sound is a design/build firm that specializes in the design and installation of church sound, church video recording/projection, and church stage lighting systems.

According to company president M.W. Templeton, "After reviewing the sanctuary's physical characteristics, we realized a distributed sound system wasn't the best choice. Because of their outgoing musical style, we felt a line array system presented a superior option.

"I approached church management about the concept of using a line array system," continued Templeton. "In addition to being a better choice for live music, a line array setup positioned at the front/center of the space would enable us to provide even coverage to the far sides of the sanctuary—without the visual distraction of having loudspeakers positioned throughout the room."

To make their case, Templeton scheduled a demonstration of a single line array from Greensboro, North Carolina-based WorxAudio Technologies.

"We went into the original sanctuary and set up one line array with a single subwoofer," said Templeton. "We conducted an A-B comparison with their existing distributed system, and, in no time at all, the decision to proceed with the line array was made."

Positioned across the front of the stage area are three line array clusters, with the left and right clusters aimed toward the sides of the sanctuary and the center cluster facing straight out toward the congregation. Each cluster consists of six WorxAudio TLV8-PMD1 line array elements plus a single TL215Si subwoofer from the company's TrueLine catalog. The TLV8-PMD1 is a self-powered, two-way, high efficiency, compact line array element. By utilizing a self-powered system, Templeton Sound avoided the complexities associated with properly matching amplifiers and loudspeakers and eliminated a considerable amount of rackspace to store the amplifiers. The TL215Si subwoofer is also compact in size, self-powered, and houses dual 15-inch transducers.
Each line array cluster is suspended by WorxAudio's TrueAim rigging system, utilizing a standard schedule 40 pipe for suspension, and this is the only visible support mechanism. All wires and connecting joints are hidden from sight—giving the appearance the clusters are floating in air.

For extended low frequency response, Templeton Sound also specified two TrueLine TL218SS subwoofers driven by Crest CA-12 amplifiers. These enclosures feature dual 18-inch transducers and are positioned at the far left and right edges of the stage. For stage monitoring by the choir, Templeton Sound mounted five WorxAudio Wave Series 8Ai two-way loudspeaker enclosures up near the ceiling—behind the motorized curtain. These monitors provide solid coverage with plenty of SPL (sound pressure level), yet they are hidden from the congregation. For the main stage area, the pastor, guests, and other speakers use four WorxAudio Wave Series 12M 12-inch floor monitors. These can freely be positioned as required. All choir and stage monitors are driven by Stewart Audio World Series 2.1 amplifiers, and controlled onstage via Aviom A-1611 personal mixers.

Filling in the Pieces
The FOH (front of house) mix station is located at the rear/center of the sanctuary in the inclined seating area—about 12 feet above floor level. A Crest HP-Eight 48-channel mixing console resides here. Ashley Protea digital processors are utilized for loudspeaker management, and a Lexicon MX-200 provides reverb and delay. Playback and recording capabilities are provided by Tascam CD-A500 and CC-222MKIII CD/Cassette decks, an MD-350 MiniDisc unit, and a 360 Instant Replay Machine.

Six Audix MicroBoom MB-1245 microphones on floor stands capture the choir voices, while solo and lead performers use Shure ULX and SLX series wireless handheld microphones with Beta 87 cartridges. Pastor Brown and guest speakers are equipped with Shure SLX series transmitters with a choice of Countryman E-6 or Shure Beta 53 wireless headsets.

It's All in the Details
Reflecting on the project, Templeton proudly acknowledged his client's enthusiasm.

"After observing the impact of the new sound system on all who experience it," said Templeton, "church management has been positively delighted. Speech intelligibility is excellent throughout the sanctuary without overpowering those in the front rows. The amount of low end 'oomph' is phenomenal, and this has been another big plus. Victory Baptist Church recognized the importance of a properly designed sound system, and now everyone benefits—and that's music to God's ears!"

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