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Strike a Chord

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First Presbyterian Church Of Margate Receives Sound Overhaul After Being Hit Lightening

MARGATE, FL—Everyone at First Presbyterian Church of Margate was well aware that the sound reinforcement system in the main sanctuary was in need of an upgrade, but they never expected Mother Nature to force her hand in the situation. Sadly, the church suddenly found much of its electrical infrastructure in disarray after one of South Florida’s electrical storms struck—effectively ruining the majority of the existing sound system.

With plans for a facility upgrade suddenly a top priority, church management turned to Miami-based

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Ulises Otero sits at the FOH mix position in the balcony of First Presbyterian Church of Margate. One of the two D.A.S. Audio line array clusters is suspended in the background. Roxy Productions, a design/build firm that also services the special events market, for a solution. After surveying the sanctuary’s physical layout, Roxy Productions technical director Ulises Otero penned a new system that revolves around line array technology from D.A.S. Audio’s Aero catalog.

According to Otero, the new system’s primary components are in place, though parts of the overall setup will be implemented in stages to contain costs. “The church took a significant hit to its electrical system,” said Otero, “and as a result, there were numerous unanticipated costs associated with this renovation. The first phase focused on the primary sound system—loudspeakers— because without this, the Pastoral staff would be unable to effectively address the congregation.

"This sanctuary routinely addresses a variety of functions,” explained Otero. “Church management wante to ensure the new system offered a high level of speech intelligibility and music reproduction capability. After observing their services, I was convinced that a line array system with broad horizontal dispersion characteristics was the solution.”

The system consists of 10 selfpowered D.A.S. Audio Aero CA-28A line array elements and four selfpowered Aero CA-215S subwoofers— flown five elements and two subs per side at a height of 26.5 feet to form a stereo configuration. “Last December, I arranged for a demonstration system that we temporarily flew with chain motors,” said Otero. “Shortly afterwards, the budget was approved and the system was purchased, at which point we reinstalled the loudspeakers using permanent hang points.”

The front of house mix position is located at the front edge of the rear balcony and is manned by volunteer staff. This station includes an Allen & Heath 40-channel ML Series console. Loudspeaker processing is provided by a BSS Soundweb. Services typically employ approximately 24 primary channels with some additional stereo channels occupied by CD players and related equipment. Microphones include a combination of wireless and cabled models. Shure LX Series wireless microphones are deployed, while various Audio Technica and Shure cabled microphones are used.

Otero reports the next phase of First Presbyterian Church’s SR system overall will include additional loudspeakers for under-balcony fill and signal processing equipment. “I modeled the sanctuary using EASE Focus,” he said, “and after we actually placed the loudspeakers we only required a few minor adjustments. The D.A.S. loudspeakers are extremely flat and, as a result, we’re running them with almost no EQ at all. The room now has a very consistent quality throughout, though the area under the rear balcony will be augmented by some additional fill speakers. This is a tricky area, as it doesn’t extend across the full width of the room.”

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