COLUMBIA, MARYLAND - FEBRUARY 2010: St. John Baptist Church (SJBC) in Columbia, Maryland recently completed construction of a wonderful new sanctuary on a recently-acquired forty-acre tract of land. The new building sits just over a mile from SJBC's previous location and contains all of the amenities that the church has longed for in its nearly forty-year journey from start-up to establishment. Included in that wish list is a wonderfully articulated sound system centered on four Danley SH-50 full-range loudspeakers that evenly blanket the fan-shaped room without appreciably exciting the walls or ceiling. Neil Shade of Acoustical Design Collaborative designed the system, and Baltimore's HP Electronics installed it, with oversight from Joe Schwartz.
Shade designed SJBC's new system as an exploded cluster of four separate hangs. Room treatments, including wall and ceiling panels, helped tone down the sonic effect of the drywall that formed the basic structure of the walls,
but its low-frequency effects were minimal. Because the two outside hangs were to be adjacent to the sidewalls, low-frequency pattern control was critical.
The original design had specified a different loudspeaker manufacturer, but as the architectural plans materialized (no pun intended), Schwartz and his coworkers pressed the case for Danley loudspeakers. "We used these speakers in a local church expo for a gospel performance and they sounded fantastic," said Schwartz. "So we knew that from a purely sonic standpoint, they were an excellent choice. But we also knew that Danley loudspeakers have a reputation for tight pattern control, even down to low frequencies where other manufacturers are effectively omni-directional. SJBC seemed like an excellent venue to put that claim to the test."
The HP Electronics crew was happy to discover that installing the Danley SH-50s was exceptionally easy. Each speaker uses a three-point hang. The SH-50s were used to provide the long throw. "There was nothing to it," laughed Schwartz. "It was definitely one of the easier installations we've had."
A modest but mighty rack of Lab.Gruppen C-series amplifiers power the loudspeakers, as well as three low-profile subwoofers hidden beneath the stage. A Biamp Nexia processor conditions the system. "The Danley SH-50s needed very little adjusting," said Schwartz. "We have a handful of filters on each one, but they are modest and subtle. Importantly, the hype about Danley's pattern control is all true! The drop-off at the wall is impressive, and the pattern from each speaker mates seamlessly with its neighbor's. Coverage throughout the sanctuary is smooth and uninterrupted."
Tight timelines led the church to retain its beloved Mackie CR-1604. "In fact, they got a MixerMixer and another CR-1604," said Schwartz. "They didn't want to have to train on something else just as everything else was going live in the new facility. Moving forward, we will eventually switch them over to a Roland V-Mix system or a Yamaha M7. It sounds fantastic now, but with either of those items in place, the system will truly shine."
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 â€¢ www.danleysoundlabs.com
PHOTO CAPTION Danley SH-50s full-range loudspeakers in an exploded cluster of four separate hangs were selected for their tight pattern control covering the fan-shaped sanctuary of St. John Baptist Church in Columbia, Maryland.