CHAMBERSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA – JANUARY 2010: The brethren of Chambersburg Brethren in Christ Church had suffered every Sunday with an inarticulate, unintelligible sound system not just for months, not just for years, but for decades. However, with an array of investments competing for limited funds, the risk of throwing good money after bad to improve or replace the sound system forced them to “just deal with it.” Nearly twenty years after their installation, the problematic loudspeakers forced the issue to be addressed. Now, an all new Danley-centered system with QSC amps and Ashly processing delivers, not just the abundant low-end that was previously absent but, an articulate high-end that has literally allowed the word of God to be heard throughout the entire congregation.
The problems that plagued the 350-seat auditorium for two decades were legion. Uncontrolled sound energy splashed on the walls and ceiling, unnecessarily adding reverb and confusion to
the direct signal, confused by overlapping coverage patterns that formed deep troughs and dizzying peaks across the besieged audible spectrum.
The church called on Omega Media, an established systems integrator with an almost-exclusive focus on churches, to cast out the sound system that had so plagued them, holding on to the faint hope that the unforgiving laws of physics might yield something better this time around. Omega Media owner and veteran acoustician Steve Walters took the case with confidence. Although the laws of physics hadn’t changed in twenty years, the state-of-the-art in loudspeaker and subwoofer design had!
Walters recognized that a successful sound reinforcement system at C’burg Brethren would start and end with tight pattern control – to keep energy off the wall and ceiling and to provide even coverage over the seating area. “Tom Danley’s loudspeakers array seamlessly provided amazing drop-off outside of the prescribed beam width even at very low frequencies,” observed Walters. “Danley was the obvious choice.” With just four flown Danley SH-95s, the seating area was covered with no wasted energy to excite the room.
Over the years, C’burg Brethren had incorporated more and more contemporary music, but the low-end support required was entirely absent in the old system. Walters spoke with Danley president Mike Hedden, who suggested that just ONE Danley TH-112 subwoofer, which is comprised of just ONE twelve-inch transducer, would do the trick. “One subwoofer with just a single twelve?” asked Walters rhetorically. “It didn’t seem possible. But I put my faith in Mike’s assessment and when we turned the whole system on, well, I was blown away! And not just me; everyone was amazed that just one flown 140 pound box could produce so much bass!” So impressed were they that several of the congregants asked if Danley makes home theater components (which it does!).
Walters recommended they keep their existing console, a Soundcraft GB8, but he did convince them to move the control location from a loft to the floor in a new, proper sound booth. He replaced the existing amps and (analog) processing with QSC PLX amps and an Ashly ne24.24M DSP. The Ashly processor recommended itself for several reasons. “Ashly’s Protea software is easy to program, abundantly powerful, and delivers audio at the output that sounds natural and clean,” said Walters. “It’s reasonably-priced and modular – so I can start small and know that there’s room to grow if the church’s needs change.”
A case in point, C’burg Brethren contacted Omega Media a few months after the installation to ask for a separate audio feed to the nursery. Walters explained, “The original design had one main recording feed, for audio and video recording decks, and for the nursery and ceiling speakers throughout the facility. They wanted separate volume, EQ, compression, etc. for the nursery feed, which was easily accomplished with the simple addition of another ne24.24M output card.”
The new audio system has done more for C’burg Brethren than they had ever dared to hope. At the old sound booth – the loft which is still used for “video land” – things are now so quiet, due to the new array directing sound at the audience rather than at the loft, that Omega Media will be installing a separate monitor speaker allowing the video technician to hear the services. The fact that so much sound had been “wasted” way up at the ceiling with the old sound system was quite an eye-opener for the church AV staff. The change has had a profound, spiritual aspect as well. “The Danley speakers and sub are allowing the word of God to be heard in a way that it never had before in this church,” summarized Walters. “It is quite literally allowing spiritual growth, and that’s huge for them.”
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.
PHOTO CAPTION Just one Danley TH-112 subwoofer and four Danley SH-95s with their tight pattern control handle the SR for Chambersburg Brethren in Christ Church.