RIVERVIEW, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 2011: The River of Life Christian Center in Riverview, Florida stepped boldly into the future with a dramatic overhaul, both sonic and scenic, of its new sanctuary. The room's old sound reinforcement barely merited that appellation, and it would be a stretch to say there were lighting and video systems - just some lights and some video. River of Life hired Christian Sound Installations (CSI) to design and install a new A/V system that would catapult the sanctuary from uninspired husk to enlivened, state-of-the-art spiritual focal point. To realize that transformation, Paul Garner, CSI principal and chief designer, relied on Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers, together with a suite of energy-efficient - but unassailably awesome - theatrical lighting fixtures and video display technologies.
"The old sound system at River of Life looked as if it had
been cobbled together over the years by well-intentioned souls whose expertise lay in other spheres of human endeavor," said Garner. "When problems arose, or some new functionality was hoped for, it appeared they relied on the local music store for a solution. The main coverage was delivered by four boxes, each with a horn and a 15-inch woofer, affixed to the wall above the stage. Two were basically facing each other and the other two were angled up to deliver balcony coverage on a wing and a prayer. A subwoofer mounted above a door was clearly an afterthought. In all, the coverage and clarity were terrible, and intelligibility was horrendous."
The sanctuary at River of Life is oriented like a diamond, with the stage at one vertex and a balcony above the two walls opposite the stage. To come up with the final design plan, including not only the loudspeaker and subwoofer locations and angles, but also their makes and models, Garner exhaustively modeled the room using AFMG's EASE software. The optimal model called for three Danley SH-100 loudspeakers in an exploded arc above the stage (equidistant from each other and the adjacent walls) and four Danley SH-Mini's on a 28ms delay ring for balcony fill. Twenty one-inch sound-absorbing acoustical panels line the back wall, each composed of two 2-by-2-foot and two 2-by-4-foot panels arranged so as to form a cross in reveal.
"The clarity of the Danley sound has really won my allegiance," said Garner. "I find the easiest way to explain it is to say that Danleys are like studio reference monitors for your church. Although I do a bit of mild sculpting, they sound fantastic even with no EQ at all. In addition, Danleys sound great at high volumes, but, unlike a lot of other manufacturers, they sound great when they're quiet, too. As for the bass, I employed a solution that has been very successful for me in the past. Rather than blast everyone in the front row, I fly the subwoofers in the center of the room." Garner placed a pair of Danley TH-212 subwoofers, situated "nose to nose," in that position for River of Life.
Two QSC RMX 1450s provide power to the Danley full-range boxes, whereas one QSC RMX 5050 serves the subwoofers. A 32-channel Roland M-400 elegantly connects the stage to the reinforcement system. CSI supplied River of Life with seven M48s, Roland's fully-integrated personal monitor system. "This is the first time I have been able to really remove every noise source on stage except the drums," he said. "Everything else is either direct or mic'd off stage. Because all of the musicians have ambient mics on their Roland personal mix controllers that allow them to speak to one another, they feel connected in a way that is not possible with other personal monitoring systems."
A Danley Sound Labs DSLP48 processor provides all of the new system's input and output conditioning. "I have used the DSLP48 on a number of jobs with a range of demands and I have yet to tap it out," said Garner. "It's very easy to program, tremendously powerful, and transparent. I'm especially fond of the number of different filtering types offered and the flexibility of their implementation. For instance, the Butterworth filter offers up to 32dB of cut. I used that to lop off potential low-end and high-end garbage at River of Life." Although it wasn't possible for this job because the church lacked a dedicated network, Garner stated that he uses the DSLP48's network-ready connection whenever possible, which allows remote troubleshooting and tweaks.
River of Life's new video and lighting systems are arresting and inspiring. Two Optoma TW766 4000-lumen projectors illuminate two 113-inch Black Diamond high-gain fixed projection screens, which Garner hails as a substantial improvement over conventional screens because they don't wash out even in bright daylight. To provide a theatrical effect, the church blacked out the ceiling and back wall. As a result, the eight Chauvet Par 64 LED lights, four Elation LED Frenels with barn doors and adjustable focus, and four Chauvet Q-spot 260 LED moving lights generate a captivating aesthetic that rivals some of the best rock clubs.
"The new system at River of Life is incredible," said Garner. "I ran pink noise at 100dB and found less than 3dB difference anywhere, and the frequency response is perfectly flat. The relatively small Danley boxes are practically invisible against the black ceiling and the whole look of the sanctuary really came together nicely. River of Life is now a state-of-the-art contemporary church!"
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