NAPLES, FLORIDA – MARCH 2010: Since its first service way back in 1965 in the Music Room of Naples High School, part of the vision for Moorings Presbyterian Church in Naples, Florida has been to build a beautiful sanctuary to glorify God. It has been a long path, but completion within the decade of a flexible and functional Fellowship Hall and a community-supporting gymnasium and recreation center left that enduring target as the next step to accomplish in Moorings’ strategic vision. The church razed its existing sanctuary, saving the small original chapel from the wrecking ball, and built a new one in its place, wondrously sunlit and capable of seating some 750 congregants. A 49 stop, 63 rank pipe organ serves as its centerpiece, and a full-blown A/V system serves to support spoken word and all manner of classical and contemporary music.
An Ashly ne24.24M DSP provides the brains for
the sound reinforcement system, with value for dollar that allowed Moorings to allocate funds to other pressing aspects of the system.
Moorings hired Riedel and Associates (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) to design the new A/V system and Pro Audio Services (PAS) of nearby Port Charlotte, Florida to install it. PAS had completed the earlier work on both the Fellowship Hall and the gymnasium and had formed a tight relationship with the church’s technical team. PAS president/engineer, Chris Bertler, helped translate the Riedel and Associates schematics for the church.
“In many cases, a church may not be entirely clear on what it wants until the system it previously asked for starts becoming a reality,” said Bertler. “It is thus part of our responsibility to refine the consultant’s design to perfectly fit the church’s needs. In this case, it became clear that a digital console would provide greater flexibility for the multifarious uses that Moorings foresaw than the originally prescribed analog board. But at the same time, that upgrade would cost more money. We were obligated to look for other aspects of the system where we could find a savings.”
Bertler scrutinized the schematics and realized that although the system’s DSP requirements were extensive and demanding, they were entirely within the scope of an Ashly ne24.24M, a unit he had had great success with in previous installations. And, importantly, the ne24.24M was several thousand dollars less expensive than the unit that had been specified. “We took some liberties,” he laughed. “We’ve had lots of experience with the ne24.24M and it has always performed perfectly – great control and great sound with a great interface. Here was our opportunity to save Moorings some money without sacrificing system performance in the least!”
Moorings’ digital console is a 48-channel Yamaha M7CL, which outputs directly to the Ashly ne24.24M. The ne24.24M is a modular unit, allowing integrators to tailor its size to the needs of a particular installation. Here the unit is fully-loaded with twelve inputs and twelve outputs, though only eight of the inputs are currently in use. The Ashly processor provides time alignment for the entire system, along with EQ curves, compression, limiting and the like. It feeds five QSC PL340 amps, which provide speaker conditioning for ElectroVoice FRX+660 loudspeakers and PRUS+181 subwoofers.
In addition, the Ashly ne24.24M provides all of the processing for a record and broadcast chain, which is used for archival purposes and for a weekly spot on cable TV. It also provides a feed to and from the chapel and to the Fellowship Hall, which can be used for overflow seating.
Although the church now adores their sound system, there were initially some concerns about intelligibility. Because the room is built around the pipe organ, its decay times are right at the borderline for intelligible speech and the loudspeakers are flown high on the ceiling. Upon receiving the complaint, PAS immediately recommended an all-too-easy solution: turn the whole thing up a bit! After a lot of back-and-forth between the designer, the church, and PAS, everyone finally agreed to do exactly that. “We went into the Ashly, and turned everything up 6 dB,” laughed Bertler. “That, along with a few minor EQ tweaks, had everything sounding nice. For those church members who had difficulty hearing under any circumstances, we installed a Williams Sound assisted listening system. Problem solved!”
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PHOTO CAPTION An Ashly ne24.24M DSP is the brains of the SR system for Moorings Presbyterian Church in Naples, Florida.