NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – MAY 2011: The division of the Nashville Rescue Mission that serves men has been operating since 1954 and currently resides in the old Sears building, near the heart of Music City. Its 400-seat chapel is the spiritual gateway to the free services within, which include food, shelter, medical care and counseling. In order to secure a bed at the Mission, the homeless must simply attend a service. That commitment to spiritual enlightenment makes the Nashville Rescue Mission one of the busiest churches in the country, with a service offered 364 nights a year (only Super Bowl Sunday gets a rest!). Scott Oliver, a volunteer musician at the Mission and professional sound system designer and integrator at Nashville’s Pro Audio Solutions, recently turned the chapel’s tired, anemic old sound system into what many are proclaiming to be one of the best sounding rooms in Nashville with the help
of Danley loudspeakers, which were donated to the Mission by the Gainesville, Georgia-based company.
In support of the nightly service, the Mission calls on a list of dedicated musicians who have been carefully vetted both for their reliability and for their sensitivity to the population for whom they will perform. Everyone from solo performers to Christian rock bands to church groups regularly volunteer their time at the Mission. Oliver and his wife have been leading worship at the service with guitar and vocal performances once a month for over two years. “To be frank, I got tired of playing through the sub-standard system they had in place,” he said flatly. He used his day-job expertise to replace that system with something not merely adequate, but in fact superlative.
As one might guess, the chapel was built on a shoestring budget, with nothing in the form of acoustical amenities. “It’s four hundred seats set amidst concrete and tile,” said Oliver. “There are precious few absorbers and no place to put subwoofers. It is a tremendously challenging acoustical situation.” He called on the exceptionally tight pattern control of the patent-pending Synergy Horn technology from Danley to direct all of the energy to the seats without exciting (the very excitable) walls and ceiling.
The installation itself was remarkably simple. Oliver simply took down the old stereo left-right boxes that had been so flapping and inarticulate for so many years and replaced them with one Danley SH-100B on each side. The SH-100B effectively wraps a full-range SH-100 in a subwoofer, extending its response down to 50 Hz. “One of the beautiful things about Danley boxes is that they require so little,” he said. “It’s actually challenging to make them sound bad – in this case, I put them up and ran some pink noise: the response was more perfect right out of the gate than most other systems are after being tortured by EQ. Because the coverage pattern is so tightly held, even to low frequencies, the Danley boxes seem to ‘ignore’ the acoustical shortcomings of the room. The Danleys deliver clear stereo imaging, honest fidelity, even coverage, and rich low end even at a solid 110 dB.”
Oliver also upgraded other elements of the system. “The Mission now has a few Heil PR 22 large diaphragm dynamic mics for a detailed front end that, like the Danley loudspeakers, require almost no EQ to sound fantastic,” he said. “I include Heil microphones in a lot of my Danley jobs because I think that kind of honesty at the input and output really takes the whole system to the next level.” He also replaced the dusty, old amps with a new stereo Crest CC 1800. An existing Yamaha mixer and a Rane DSP continue to serve the Mission.
“Everyone involved is tremendously excited about the new system,” said Oliver. “I can’t imagine that there’s a better sounding rescue mission in the country, but what is more impressive is how the Nashville Rescue Mission now stacks up against the big venues in this city. There’s simply nothing else that sounds as good!”
Concluded Rescue Mission’s engineer, Greg Gordon, “I have been working at the Mission for nine years, and our services have never sounded better. Recently the Nashville Symphony performed here, and they could not believe how great the system sounded. The Danley speakers have made my job much more enjoyable and all the artists that play here can’t believe how great it sounds either.”
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