Northway Christian Church (Dallas) recently renovated its sanctuary as part of a larger expansion project. Says Mark Bender, minister of youth and administration for the church, “We were giving the sanctuary a facelift in conjunction with a project to build 6,000 square feet of additional space for a choir rehearsal room and a multipurpose area. We knew that taking down the acoustical panels would impact the sound, but we didn’t anticipate how much sound the carpeted seating area also absorbed. After we pulled up the carpet, the sound was hitting the bare floor and bouncing off the walls.”
The changes added 1.25 seconds of reverberation, for a total of more than three seconds of echoes. “The resonance of the pipe organ and the choir were really great, but the spoken word was a garbled mess. It was so bad that people were cupping their hands over their ears just to try to keep the echoes out.”
To fix the problem, Bender consulted with Chris Jordan, president and founder of Electro Acoustics & Video in Forth Worth, Texas. “At first, I was pretty certain the church would have to reinstall the acoustical panels to achieve a more desirable reverb time of two seconds,” Jordan said. “However, I’d heard about EAW’s DSA Series line arrays, which can steer the output directly at the congregation and away from the troublesome reflective surfaces.”
For about the same cost as the complete set of new acoustical panels that Jordan expected to recommend, the church instead purchased two DSA250 loudspeakers and two DSA230 subwoofers, which were connected to the church’s existing FOH console.
Says Jordan, “The DSAs are incredibly compact and unobtrusive for all the sound they put out, but we made them even less noticeable when we painted them to match the walls. So despite being surface-mounted on the front wall of the church, you have to really look to see where the sound is coming from. For a church whose goal was to give its sanctuary a facelift, we did pretty well by eliminating the bulky black speaker cabinets and reducing the need for additional acoustical panels.”
According to Bender, the church has been just as pleased with its find. “With the new sound system, you can actually understand the spoken word better than ever. Best of all, the system preserves the aesthetics of our church, which was the whole point of renovation in the first place.”
For more information, please visit www.eaw.com.