VanDyke, who learned audio technology as a student at Middle Tennessee State University’s music production program in Murfreesboro, TN, says the research process included visiting trade shows, including the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in Las Vegas, and comparing them against a checklist that he and his associates had created over time, in which the key criteria were cost and user-friendliness.
Specifically, for the new PA system, the church retained A/V integrator/designer Acoustic Dimensions to gauge the needs of the building from a power and an acoustics perspective. The company suggested an L-Acoustics KUDO line array system, a three-way, quad-amplified design equipped with two 12-inch LF transducers mounted in a bass-reflex enclosure, four 5-inch high-efficiency MF transducers and two 1.75-inch HF diaphragm compression drivers coupled to individual DOSC waveguides, with the speakers managed by a BSS Soundweb London processor, all of which offered a wide frequency range and good dispersion for the larger sanctuary.
Secondly, Acoustic Dimensions recommended and then designed a substantial acoustical treatment strategy with mainly absorptive materials installed around the room, especially on the side walls that had generated the sonic reflections that interfered most with speech intelligibility. VanDyke says this was the single biggest complaint from congregants and what led to the system re-evaluation in the first place.
Critical elements of the acoustical treatment include acoustically absorbent clouds hung above the main stage to address excess energy generated there by music and monitors, heavy drapes on a motorized track that cover the reverberation chambers when the church’s organ is not in use, and insulation batting in the attic areas above the sanctuary to minimize energy seeping into those areas and creating additional waves. The project, with an estimated cost of about $1 million, is currently out for bid to three integration companies.
VanDyke says that now, instead of looking at A/V projects as set-piece propositions with fixed beginnings and ends, his department urges the church to look ahead in five- and 10-year increments, setting aside capital funds for upgrades that can keep existing systems current longer and for the inevitable time when whatever technology they have in place at the time reaches its own expiration date.