Marrying a Sound System with Visual Aesthetics
More than 35 years ago, Randy and Carol Pope founded Perimeter Church in the Atlanta metro area. Hotel magnate Cecil B. Day, originator of the Day’s Inn chain of “budget-luxury” hotels, rented space to the fledgling church for a mere $50 month and helped propel Perimeter Church to its current success.
Now standing on 95 acres, Perimeter Church operates a complex of utilitarian buildings for all manner of functions and ministries, including nine auditoriums. But, until recently, the campus was missing a beautiful chapel to host special services, events, and weddings.
That changed this year, with the christening of the Cecil B. Day Chapel, a 475-seat sanctuary of gorgeous wood, stone, and stained glass below a vaulted wooden ceiling. To complement the visual aesthetic, Steve Simmons, director of technical ministries at Perimeter Church, built the sound system around Danley Sound Labs full-range loudspeakers, subwoofers, and stage monitors.
“This is the crown jewel of our campus,” said Simmons. “The sound reinforcement has to be very flexible to accommodate everything from spoken word to a choir, from a small orchestra to full bands. In this space, the sound system had to marry with the beautiful aesthetics of the space. We had invested so much into the visual beauty of the Day Chapel that it would have pained us all to compromise that beauty with a bunch of clunky speakers.”
The church’s technical team, under the leadership of Simmons, designed the system. The installation was a collaborative effort between the church’s tech staff and Baker Audio of nearby Norcross, Georgia.
Simmons is a longtime fan of Tom Danley, the innovator behind the revolutionary technology offered by Danley Sound Labs. He first heard Danley’s genius years ago in Sound Physics Labs loudspeakers.
“Those were great boxes,” he said, “but now Danley Sound Labs has gone even further. Tom is doing some very creative things and conceptualizing sound reinforcement in ways that no one else has considered. Danley full-range boxes are both exceptionally clear and exceptionally even across the sound field, and Danley subwoofers add an astonishing level of output and musical low end to our music. To cap off the perfect fit, Danley Sound Labs was happy to stain the cabinets to match the wood in the new chapel, putting a new spin on the phrase ‘transparent audio.’”
Simmons designed an LCR system using two flagship Danley SH-50s in each of three flown clusters. A single Danley SH-95 mounted below each cluster provides downfill. He had hoped to fly the system’s two Danley TH-115 subwoofers directly behind the center cluster, but architectural conflicts forced him to separate them slightly so that each subwoofer sits on an opposite side of the center cluster.
Danley full-range loudspeakers are known for their pattern control, which extends octaves lower than conventional loudspeaker designs. Simmons used that control to his advantage, keeping sound off the wood, stone, and stained-glass walls, thereby making the use of unsightly sound absorption unnecessary.
LynTec technology controls the power sequence for all of the chapel’s sound reinforcement equipment. Three QSC CX1102, two QSC CX702, and two QSC CX902 amplifiers provide power for the entire system, including eight Danley floor monitors.
“As I have given tours to of the chapel to others in our industry, several people have commented on the amps,” said Simmons. “They’re not turned up very much, and yet the chapel has abundant volume.”
Of course, that’s a nod to the efficiency of the Danley boxes. A Biamp Nexia DSP provides modest input and output conditioning for the system. A Digital Projection 28SX projector illuminates a 16x9 foot Stuart screen that tucks neatly behind a stone column when not in use.
Simmons considered a number of options for on-stage vocal monitoring to accompany the installed Aviom system and ultimately decided on the Danley Sound Labs SH-VLPM (Very Low Profile Monitor) for reasons of both sound quality and economy.
He explained, “For the opening event, I figured out that I would need eight conventional wedges to cover a 100-plus choir, in addition to a few more for other instruments and speakers. Because the SH-VLPM delivers a true 110-degree beam width, much wider than the conventional designs, I could achieve the same coverage with only six boxes on the choir and two for the horn section. The church saved money by purchasing fewer boxes and fewer amp channels to support them. Perhaps more satisfying, the frequency response of the Danley monitors is markedly smoother than conventional designs. When the musicians move around on stage, they get a nice, consistent response.”
Perimeter Church already had four Innovason digital consoles filling the key role in auditoriums across its campus, and the new chapel makes five. Simmons specified an Innovason SY48 with built-in effects card.
“These consoles have been very good to us,” he said. “Because we have such a huge variety of events, we demand huge flexibility in our FOH boards. The Innovason products are the only ones remotely close to our price range that will adapt to each event’s unique needs, rather than forcing us to adapt the event to the console. If we suddenly need 15 aux sends, we have them. If we need to pare it down for a school meeting, we can make only two faders functional. For large events, the Innovason SY48 and SY80 will capably mix without resorting to annoying layer topology due to their SmartFAD technology.”
Simmons is blessed, among others on his team, with the job of mixing services in the new chapel.
“With conventional loudspeakers, the tonality changes depending on how loud the system is,” he said. “Not so with the Danley boxes. I get consistent, clean sound. Voices effortlessly cut through without ever becoming harsh. Because they have great pattern control, the full-range boxes deliver beautiful stereo imaging.”
Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for "outside the box" thinking in professional audio technology, www.danleysoundlabs.com.