ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Perimeter Church in suburban Atlanta, Georgia does a fantastic job of ministering in a way that connects emotionally and culturally with all members of the church community. Middle and high schoolers attend services in The Hanger, a 1,000-seat sanctuary devoted to the themes that resonate with the unique challenges and aesthetics of young adults. However, in the five long years since its completion, The Hanger has suffered from grossly inadequate sound reinforcement, including poor coverage and anemic bass. To remedy the situation, Perimeter technical director Steve Simmons designed and installed a Danley Sound Labs-based system that now delivers even coverage and enough clean, undistorted bass to “knock the breath out of you,” in Simmons’ words.
“The original system was terrible from day one,” Simmons said. “We had a left-center-right system, but each cluster was comprised of boxes that worked poorly together. If you were in the beam of some components, you got boomy, indistinct low-end. Other components conveyed the high-end, but not with the same coverage pattern. As a result, there were only a few select seats that got anything close to a balanced frequency response. The rest rode complex peaks and valleys of sound pressure and pass band.” In addition, the floor-mounted subs were spaced improperly and thus contributed a floppy, interference-riddled bass response to the existing full range mess.
Danley Sound Labs, headquartered in nearby Gainesville, lent Simmons a few full-range boxes so that he could prove his models. After a bit of tweaking, he settled on left-right coverage delivered by one Danley SH-96 flown wide on each side, with a paired Danley SH-95 turned on its side to provide near-wall fill. “It’s amazing that the old system required numerous units and still failed to cover the room, while Danley managed to do it with basically two boxes,” said Simmons. The center cluster, which is used primarily for spoken word, is comprised of three Danley SH-50 full-range loudspeakers in a tight pack that delivers truly seamless coverage to the entire room.
“The old system used a first-generation DSP that has a well-known problem with a high-frequency oscillation,” said Simmons. “We could hear it if we wore headphones or when the room was empty or if we were concentrating. But when the Danleys came on line, it was immediately apparent… and horrible. It just about drove us from the room. Of course, that’s a testament to the honest and extended high-frequency response of the Danley product, but it also meant we had to get a new DSP stat!” Fortunately, Perimeter’s large campus and system of satellite sites requires a certain amount of gear-on-hand. Simmons replaced the old DSP with a Biamp Audia DSP that he plans to replace when new 2012 models hit the streets. Crown Macro-Tech 5000i amplifiers provide power to the system.
Perimeter’s store of goods helped out a youth conference at The Hanger a few months in advance of the full system renovation. Simmons pulled two Danley TH-115 subwoofers from Perimeter’s standing stock and flew them over the center of the sanctuary. “It was a dramatic improvement,” he said. “We were able to drop the rest of the system by 6dB, but everyone commented that the system sounded louder… and better.” For the full renovation, Simmons added two Danley TH-118s to those boxes for a total of four coupled Danley subwoofers. “It’s very powerful and very even,” he commented. “We now have the percussive, dynamic low end that I had always hoped for.”
The new system is winning Danley adherents. “We have so many services, programs, and events, that we have a crew of technicians,” Simmons explained. “A job candidate spent a couple of weekends mixing in our main sanctuary, which does not have Danley boxes and is quite difficult to mix in. The third week, we asked him to mix in The Hanger. He had never mixed on Danley boxes before, and after the service I got a text from him that said simply, ‘I heart Danley forever.’ When I spoke with him later, he noted that he was able to clearly hear a 1dB EQ boost – the kind of thing that is lost in any other system.” In contrast to the peaks and valleys of the old system, the Danley system is tremendously even. One can walk from wall to wall, and the sound pressure and frequency response is consistent. There are other benefits, too. The Danley clusters, despite their vastly improved performance, are one third the size of the original clusters, and while the old system was constantly cranked, the Danley’s are attenuated by 20dB and still produce enough output to keep the youth jumping in their seats.
ABOUT DANLEY SOUND LABS 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