DENVER, COLORADO – MARCH 2010: Pathways Church in Denver, Colorado is unique in many ways. The church purchased the Temple Event Center, an historic Moorish-style Synagogue built by renowned architect John Humphreys in 1899. Both a local and national historic landmark, the Temple Event Center, as it is still known, overflows with ornate and sublime beauty, including elaborate stained glass windows, intricate woodwork, vaulted ceilings, and gold leaf stenciling. Though no longer functioning, a gigantic 1911 Estey pipe organ provides an impressive backdrop for the nearly 1,000 congregants who can sit comfortably on velvet-upholstered seats.
Given the classic architecture that surrounds Pathways, it may be surprising to learn that the church delivers a decidedly contemporary service, complete with a fully-voiced rock band. In contrast, it will not be surprising to learn that the existing sound system was hardly up to that
task. Coverage was spotty, output was weak, and intelligibility was fleeting, especially with the system so frequently red-lined. On a shoestring budget, Colorado-based Summit Integrated Systems replaced the existing loudspeakers with Danley loudspeakers and subwoofers, relying on Danley’s efficiency to make the new system thunder using only the existing amplifiers and processors.
Rigging the loudspeakers was a tremendous challenge and Danley’s relatively lightweight, efficient designs made the task less odious than it might have otherwise been. A twenty-foot span above the stage gives way on both the left and right to vaulted ceilings of some 75 feet covered in precious, hand-painted stencils. The extremely wide, fan-shaped room would need to be addressed using as few rigging points as possible.
Summit selected four Danley SH-96 full-range loudspeakers to cover the main seating area. The SH-96 boasts a three-way system composed of four 15-inch, six 4-inch, and one 1.4-inch drivers all situated within one horn. Like all Danley loudspeakers, the SH-96 provides internal, passive crossovers and thus cuts down multiplicatively on the number of amplifier channels required (no bi- or tri-amping!). What really solidified the deal was Summit’s speaker demo of the Danley SH-96 showing that a single SH-96 had more output, higher intelligibility and better seating coverage than their existing SR System comprised of six tri-amped full-range boxes costing upwards of $130,000.
Flipped on their sides, the Danley SH-96 provides 90- by 60-degree pattern control that is tight enough to focus its energy fully on the seating area, keeping the sound off the Temple Event Center stage for greater gain before feedback. With judicious overlap in the patterns of adjacent speakers, Summit gave Pathways their requested stereo imaging as a pair of alternating left/right outputs. Not only was Pathways getting a massive upgrade in terms of output and fidelity, they were getting a system that would move them past the uninspired mono of their previous installation.
In addition to output, fidelity, and imaging, the good life includes a generous serving of bass, and Summit Integrated tucked two Danley TH-115 subwoofers into the stage for just that purpose. “Loudspeaker and subwoofer efficiency was paramount in this design,” said Shane Beeson, sales and installation specialist at Summit Integrated Systems. “We had to rely on Pathway’s existing Yamaha DME24N processor and Yamaha PC4801N and PC9501N amplifiers. Both the Danley SH-96 and TH-115 are markedly more efficient than comparable units from other manufacturers, and that gave us the ability to deliver the high SPLs Pathways was seeking. The fact that we could do this without bi- or tri-amplification was also essential.”
He continued, “Pathways is very happy with the new system. The difference between it and the old system was not subtle. As soon as we fired it up, they knew without a doubt that they had gotten their money’s worth. It was a night and day difference. Now they have abundant volume that’s clear and intelligible with stereo imaging on top of it all. We plan to continue working with Pathways so that as the funds become available, we can round things out with rack upgrades and a modest amount of down fills and front fills.”
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 Four Danley SH-96 full-range loudspeakers cover the main seating area under the vaulted ceiling in the Moorish-style Pathways Church, Denver, Colorado.