Atlanta-based systems contractor Tony Shannon of VisionQuestrecently installed four of SLS’ new LS8695 line array systems intwo local churches: North Metro Church (shown) and Grace Fellowship;three other installations are currently in progress using thesystems.
North Metro and Grace Fellowship were very different projects, aground-up job and a redesign, respectively, but Shannon found that theSLS LS8695 worked equally well for each job. Both had their own uniqueacoustical challenges and using a combination of the SLS speakers,SLS’ Line Array Simulator Software (LASS) and Shannon’slaser-guided placement system, he was able to overcome any installationobstacles. Shannon noted that the speakers’ plug-and-playcapabilities also came in handy.
The worship leader at North Metro, Sonny Lallerstedt, is also anaccomplished guitarist and studio musician. As a former recordingstudio owner and engineer, Lallerstedt was familiar with how the studioenvironment sounds, from a near-field point of view, and he wanted toduplicate that in the system installed in his church.
Shannon further explained, “The monitor speakers you would usefor near-field recording in a studio are typically designed for closeproximity, anywhere from three to 10 feet away, and are designed toprovide a premium listening experience. The SLS line arrays, the way wehave them installed, provide that same experience at distances of up to70 feet, so they can provide even coverage for a large area and a largenumber of people.”
Shannon complemented the LS8695 with four of SLS’ dual 18-inchsubwoofer cabinets to add more low end in the room. “It’sextremely hi-fi,” he said. “It’s well-imaged and fromanywhere in the room, you hear it in stereo just as if you were sittingin your living room. And if you’re sitting in front of a speakeror sitting in the back of the room, you hear equally as well. Itdoesn’t blow the people in the front row out, and itdoesn’t make it hard for those in the back to hear.”
Grace Fellowship, which moved into a new facility two years ago,also has a contemporary format, with a band and a worship team thataccompanies services on Sunday. However, the sanctuary also serves as amultipurpose room, used by youth groups on weeknights and for variousother functions. “It’s typically more difficult to make amultipurpose room ‘work’ in terms of audio as compared tostrictly a worship space,” Shannon said.
The 650-capacity Grace Fellowship also had other issues: The newbuilding was not well-designed architecturally in terms of acoustics.Also, the original sound system that was installed was not adequate forthe building.
“Intelligibility was a big problem, as far as hearing thepastor and understanding sermons,” Shannon said.“It’s a very difficult room: octagonal, like a stop sign,90 feet across with a 45-foot wooden parabolic ceiling. If you stand inthe middle of the room, it is equidistant to the ceiling and to anywall. The reverberation has been tamed to about 3-and-a-half seconds,which is great if you want to use pipe organs or a big orchestralensemble, but terrible if you need to understand what someone is sayingor if you are using contemporary-style music. It’s just too longof a reverb time.” Cost estimates to make further acousticimprovements were out of the church’s reach.
Once again, the SLS LS8695 line arrays were called into use.“We put the line arrays in there, and now it soundswonderful,” Shannon said. “Everyone hears well, everyoneloves it.”
Shannon used SLS’ LASS system with lasers for precisionplacement. First, the room is plotted using computer-aided design (CAD)software. Then, LASS double-checks that application. “With LASS,we can make a very good prediction on how even one degree of aim or sixinches of height in the location of cabinet can make a difference inhow a room sounds,” Shannon said. “Then our riggers setstraight laser pointers on the cabinets, and we give them targets inthe room to hit with these points. They do their alignments with thecabinet focused at those targets. We basically tape an ‘X’mark on the walls and floors; wherever that cabinet has to aim and givethem a target to hit. And when you walk away, what you saw in thedrawing is what you get in the room. It takes a lot of the guessworkout of hanging speakers.”
For more information on SLS, visit www.slsloudspeakers.com.