Dave Armstrong, a Ft Lauderdale, FL sound design and installation contractor serving primarily churches and synagogues through his company, Sound Planning, believes the most important component of his work is intelligibility. "In most churches, even those with contemporary services, the majority of content is the human voice. So first and foremost I want people to be able to understand everything that's being said or sung. But I also love music and want it to sound great. Electro-Voice speakers offer my customers the best of both worlds."
- Armstrong says his focus on intelligibility is a natural outgrowth of his public speaking experience as an ordained minister. His preference for Electro-Voice is born of experience as well. He's been using Electro-Voice loudspeakers since the early days of Sound Planning in the 1970s, when his company was based in Michigan. "We used Electro-Voice for the first church system we ever did, and we've been using it pretty consistently ever since."
- "I'm a big believer in demos," Armstrong said, "and I do a lot of A/B comparisons. What really shows up with EV is that the clarity of the high frequencies shines compared to the competition. Most manufacturers today can build a box that puts out a lot of bass, but where I really hear the difference with EV is that you get crystal-clear high end, which to me is critical for speech intelligibility."
- Armstrong recently put his preferences to the test in installations for three Miami-area Salvation Army churches. Each room had its own unique acoustical challenges, and Armstrong handled each with a distinct approach, all of which were based on Electro-Voice loudspeakers.
In the 300-seat Flagler Street Church near downtown Miami, for example, a very high ceiling with lots of glass at each end of the sanctuary results in a highly reverberant space.
"I could tell right away that the room was going to be a challenge for speech intelligibility," Armstrong says. "So I went with the EVH-1152D/64, because the horn-loaded woofer in those EVH boxes always cleans up rooms. I've had a number of customers who thought they were going to require acoustical treatments but ended up getting the intelligibility they needed with just EVHs.
At South Miami's 200-seat Sunset Drive Church, the challenge was a ceiling that was very low rather than high. "The ceilings were only about 12 feet," Armstrong says, "so with a single speaker or even two speakers it would have been really loud in the front and not loud enough in back. Instead, we ceiling-mounted four EV ZX1 composite, 8-inch two-way cabinets. The ZX1 can be oriented horizontally for low-ceiling rooms, and there's nothing that size on the market that even comes close in terms of sound. They handle a terrific amount of power, and they have an amazing amount of low end for their size."
The Sunset Drive system also included a TX1181 sub. "That's a really solid-sounding sub with good low frequency extension," Armstrong says. "We just put them on the floor and get good results." To serve the mixed congregation, some of whom are Creole-speaking Haitians, Armstrong also put in a Telex SoundMate system with 40 wireless receivers for simultaneous translation.