When Bethlehem Baptist Church opens its doors Oct. 4 and 5, it will be inviting guests to witness a revival, not of faith in a higher power, but rather in the ability of a set of loudspeakers to transform a church’s sound system. On those days, attendees of systems integrator Audio Video Electronics’ (AVE) annual Sight and Sound Seminar will be able to hear for themselves how 14 Sound Physics Lab loudspeakers helped make a former cavernous industrial warehouse a friendly environment for the kind of music only a Baptist congregation could produce.
AVE, Brooklyn Park, Minn., chose the Minneapolis church for its annual AV education and product showcase event so it could tout the speaker solution it devised as part of a broader AV upgrade it provided the church.
“This project turned out so well we thought we should highlight it,” says AVE President Stefan Svärd. “We’re going to talk about the reasons we chose the SPL speakers and we’ll showcase the speaker technology as part of a mixing seminar we have scheduled.”
With many of its user attendees expected to come from the church community, which is migrating toward better sound solutions for their houses of worship, Svärd says exhibiting a successful installation may convince more in the church market of the potential for well-conceived sound system upgrades.
Four distinct SPL models —B-DEAPs, td1s, runts, and triks — were largely responsible for giving the church its new sound capabilities. Svärd selected SPL speakers for the job after learning about the technology they employ at a recent National Systems Contractor Association (NSCA) show.
“I’ve always been a fan of using accurate, high-quality speakers in my jobs, and I had heard of ServoDrive [the name that preceded Sound Physics Labs] because the line was well-known for its line of powerful subwoofers,” Svärd says. “We had a chance to meet with them and we were able to learn more about the technology behind them. I was fascinated by it.”
Another reason Svärd chose the SPL products was the ability to accurately model them in the application. Using data compiled for the first time ever on the SPL speakers, as part of the popular EASE model, Svärd was able to determine exactly how they could be configured in the venue to overcome acoustical challenges and deliver the needed coverage. More importantly, the modeling was able to show the church decision makers that the AVE solution would work. “We were able to get a visual on how they would work. And after seeing that we went with that solution across the board for the church,”
AVE’s layout involved installing a cluster of three SPL-td1s in front of the stage area, and another cluster of two halfway back in the room, which seats about 1,200. In addition, three SPL-runts were placed on the stage for front-fill purposes, and four SPL-triks were tucked up against the ceiling — two on either side of the stage. Also, under the front of the stage, AVE placed two SPL B-DEAP subwoofers in specially constructed vaults.
Given the difficult acoustics in the former warehouse and the need to disperse sound over a large area, the SPLs were the ideal solution because of the unique technology they employ.
“Since they’re passively driven boxes, the SPLs made for a cost-effective solution, and you don’t need four-way crossovers and a bunch of power amps,” he says. “Because they’re horn-loaded, you get good pattern control and an ability to keep the sound from bouncing off the walls and around the room. Their sound quality is phenomenal, and they work almost right out of the box, without a lot of fiddling.”
Given the tight budget constraints he was working under, Svärd says the SPLs made sense. Their excellent coverage and power helped overcome acoustical challenges that couldn’t be met with potentially costly acoustical treatments to the inside of the facility.
Having successfully outfitted Bethlehem’s new, long-awaited home with a state-of-the-art sound system, AVE is now contemplating additional opportunities with the client. Svärd says there’s a chance AVE might be tapped to install a similar SPL-based solution in the church’s other facility, which is still employed as their downtown location.
Meanwhile, though, the church is enjoying its newfound sound capabilities. With the sound system on display for the rest of the metro area’s church community in early October, chances are that at some point in the future, Bethlehem won’t be the only church with outstanding sound.
For more information, visit www.audiovideoelectronics.com.