Right in the heart of Music Row in Nashville, the non-denominational Belmont Church—now streaming through Belmont.TV due to COVID-19—was recently outfitted with new d&b audiotechnik A-Series augmented arrays thanks to Spectrum Sound, Nashville.
From its humble beginnings in 1911 as a revival tent meeting hall, the church officially broke ground in 1915, and over 100 years later, it is still at the same location. The 900-seat contemporary church underwent a complete audio system renovation to the church’s main sanctuary sound reinforcement system, recording studio, and broadcast audio-for-video infrastructure. The new A-Series forms the heart of the sound reinforcement system for the main sanctuary.
According to Ken DeBelius, system integration sales manager, Spectrum Sound, the venue's sound system had not been updated in the last 20 years.
“As far as the room and interior design of the space, although it feels small, it does have a nice intimate setting. The geometric room layout posed significant challenges for a loudspeaker system design that would provide appropriate coverage uniformity to all the seating planes," DeBelius said. "The main concerns of the room were the asymmetric layout of the main floor seating around the stage, and a large, steep raked balcony, which not only shadowed significant portions of the main floor, but the balcony area itself is also asymmetric."
"A line array solution was out of the question; the room wasn’t nearly large enough to justify, and line arrays would create unacceptable sightline issues," he added. "That left a point source loudspeaker solution, still not ideal, particularly with obtaining the considerable vertical coverage needed, and how it would look overall rigging-wise.”
Considering the coverage challenges of the room, during the time while a working point source design was still on the drawing board, DeBelius had the opportunity to audition the A-Series augmented array.
“I’d actually been waiting for d&b to come up with this kind of product for a long time. Having heard it and knowing that this kind of loudspeaker product perfectly bridges the gap between point source and line array, it became an “Ah Ha” moment that this was going to be a great solution for Belmont Church as it checked all the desired design goals," he said. "d&b’s ArrayCalc software verified it would not only cover the room appropriately, but would easily meet the SPL requirements while minimizing the impact to sightlines.”
David A. Terry who oversees all technical aspects of the church as well as co-leads the Worship and Arts department at the church said: “I absolutely love the d&b design philosophy and the sound of their loudspeakers. Because we have line of sight challenges in some seating areas, we wanted to use a speaker with as small a vertical footprint as possible. The A-Series was perfect for our application both in physical size and desired coverage. After I looked over the specs, we agreed with Spectrum’s recommendation to go with the A-Series.”
The A-Series system is comprised of 4 Main flown clusters, each consisting of 2 x ALi60 and 1 x ALi90 cabinets for a total of 12 boxes. 2 x Yi-SUBs center flown cardioid subwoofers, 2 x 21S under stage floor subwoofers, 8 x 5S front fills, 8 x 5S under balcony fills, and 10D and 30D amplifiers round out the d&b system.
Terry noted that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the church has not had a live service with a congregation since the install was completed, but has put the loudspeaker system through its paces with a small ensemble as well as pre-recorded music for its streaming service. “The coverage and sound quality are fantastic!”