Systems designer and consultant Ken Dickensheets relies on Bose® RoomMatch® loudspeakers and PowerMatch® amplifiers to conquer acoustically challenging environments in churches
from Midland to Austin
AV systems integrators choose RoomMatch® loudspeakers for giving them the ability to choose exactly the right coverage patterns for each project
As the CTO/Principal Consultant for Dickensheets Design Associates, Ken Dickensheets has served as acoustical consultant and media systems designer for many highly acclaimed projects throughout Texas and beyond. Some of the most challenging ones are consistently houses of worship, where very often the importance of clear, highly intelligible audio is initially overlooked in architectural design. That’s often what Ken gets called in to fix, and in addition to his 50+ years of experience, he brings with him solutions from Bose® Professional Systems, whose RoomMatch® loudspeakers have been the right solution for hundreds of churches across the country.
One of those is Transfiguration Greek Orthodox Church in Austin. There, Dickensheets encountered a small 250-seat sanctuary, but one with an extremely high ceiling for the size of the room – over 30 feet tall. This, plus the marble and plaster finishes, resulted in a reverberation time of more than five seconds, quite long for a room of that size. Always looking at multiple solutions to find exactly the right one for each client, Dickensheets brought in several steerable-array loudspeaker systems, but it was when he used a single RoomMatch RM7040 array module, powered by one Bose PowerMatch® PM8500N amplifier, that the problem was solved. “The difference in the intelligibility of the sound between the Bose RoomMatch loudspeaker and every other speaker was like night and day,” he says. “That one speaker was able to give them the kind of sound they’d been in search of for ten years.”
Mark Stevens, President of San Antonio Sound & Light, the AV integrator on the project, says that the RoomMatch loudspeaker has the high-frequency articulation needed to address speech intelligibility in that kind of acoustically complex environment. “The RoomMatch module has six high-frequency drivers mounted on a waveguide that is just perfectly suited for problems like these,” he explains. Stevens adds that the RoomMatch loudspeaker was flexible enough in its ability to be mounted that he was able to position it almost 30 feet above the church’s altar and aim it down at a precise 45-degree angle. “We needed the height and the angle just right to optimize the box for the space, and the RoomMatch module was able to be installed exactly as we needed it to,” he says.
The First Christian Church, in Midland, Texas, has similar intelligibility issues in its 900-seat worship center. For this project, as part of a larger renovation that also included new lighting and video, and installed by Ace Audio Communications in Austin, Dickensheets specified a main array consisting of a RoomMatch RMS215 subwoofer, RM5510, RM5520 and RM7020 loudspeakers, with a second RM5520 module positioned as foldback for the choir. Another RM5520 loudspeaker was installed as a delay array to cover the balcony. Two PowerMatch PM8500N amplifiers power the complete system.
“This church also had struggled for years with poor-quality sound,” Dickensheets says. “We presented the Bose RoomMatch system to them as the best solution for keeping the audio energy directed away from the brick and wood surfaces that were causing the reflections. At first they were concerned with the costs, but once we calculated the costs of other options such as line arrays, it became clear that the RoomMatch array modules offered not only the best solution but also the best value. In terms of cost-effectiveness, the Bose RoomMatch system beat everything else on the list.”
At the 600-seat Hope Presbyterian Church in Austin, Dickensheets recommended Bose RoomMatch loudspeakers and PowerMatch amplifiers to address some reverberation issues there as well, but the final decision wasn’t made by the church’s leadership but rather by its musicians. Dickensheets arranged a blind listening test event in which the church’s music directors listened to three different speakers without knowing their brands. Unanimously, they chose the Bose RoomMatch loudspeakers as having the best intelligibility and most natural sound. Ace Audio Communications installed a system consisting of an RM215 subwoofer, RM9010, RM9060 and RM12040 array modules, powered by two PM8500N amplifiers. “That really tells you something,” says Dickensheets. “The RoomMatch system is not just solving the problems around speech intelligibility, but also providing great full-range sound for music. The RoomMatch speakers really cover a lot of ground.”