PHENIX CITY, AL--Golden Acres Baptist Church (GABC) in Phenix City, Alabama recently underwent two changes -- one gradual and the other abrupt -- which necessitated an overhaul of their no-longer-adequate sound system. First, the church slowly introduced contemporary elements into their services, which placed more demands on their old system than it was able to withstand. Second, the church added a 225-seat balcony to their existing 500-seat sanctuary, requiring a complete shift in coverage patterns.
While its story is particular, GABC's requirement for intelligibility, power, and flexibility - without any expensive bells and whistles -- is representative of most mid-sized churches. Bill Manning at Pensacola's All Pro Sound designed and installed a modest, but immensely powerful, Danley system that sounds clean and articulate for spoken word, and punchy and vibrant for contemporary music, with the capacity to ably deliver on anything else the church should choose to throw at it.
"Golden Acres held their very first service in a chicken house with twenty-six members in 1945," said Manning. "Today, their membership exceeds 1,800! They began including more contemporary elements into their three Sunday services over the past several years. Their old system was no longer adequate for either service and the switch between them was cumbersome and error-prone. We designed a basic audio system with high-level components to meet their current needs with plenty of room to accommodate their future needs."
Manning began at the front-end, re-doing the church's wiring infrastructure for simplicity and modern connectivity. The band upgraded from wedges to a full-tilt Aviom wireless personal monitoring system. From there, existing inputs fed a 48-channel Yamaha M7 digital console with full automation and recall. Ashley processing and QSC PLS and PL series amplifiers rounded out the electronics.
The acoustics of the space required careful consideration of speaker selection and placement. "As with any job, we wanted to keep energy off the walls and focused on the seats," said Manning. Here, the tall ceiling and retrofitted balcony, combined with the much higher SPLs that the new system would be asked to deliver, served to underscore that mantra.
Just a single, flown Danley SH-96 covers most of the seating area. The SH-96 is a new model that includes four 15-inch drivers, six mid-frequency drivers, and one high-frequency driver. Like all Danley SH-series loudspeakers, it delivers excellent fidelity within a well-defined beam width. Unlike the flagship SH-50, which possesses a 50 x 50-degree beam width, the SH-96 possesses a much wider 90 x 60-degree beam width. It was ideal for GABC.
When asked to comment on the SH-96, Manning joked about its rather large size, "It's the best sounding refrigerator you've ever heard! But seriously, it does the work of several loudspeakers and sounds fantastic. We tested the
system when none of the church members were around with a very loud audition of The Beatle's "Love" album. The dynamics were great and the vocals were clear and rich. I especially remember the warm low end and the detail in
such things as cello string noise."
Three compact Danley SH-95s with 95 x 55-degree dispersion patterns provide side and down fills to cover most of the remaining seats. A handful of EAW JS50S tucked underneath the balcony completed the coverage. To convey the
satisfying low-end that so eluded GABC with their old system, Manning flew two Danley TH-115 subwoofers with the SH-96.
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