First Baptist upgrades for clarity and musicality
USA: Located in downtown Springfield, Missouri, First Baptist Church is a multi-generational house of worship with a wide range of ministries designed to engage its varied congregation. Music plays a vital role in the church’s services and, to ensure the best possible audio quality so as to keep the congregation fully engaged, church management recently elected to upgrade its sound reinforcement system.
To develop a new sound system, the church contracted Springfield-based Paragon 360, a design/build A/V integration firm that handles professional audio, acoustics, video, lighting, scenic, staging, rigging systems and interior design services for the worship, education, amusement and commercial markets across the USA. Mark Coble, who oversees audio/acoustics design and commissioning for Paragon 360, ultimately elected to deploy WorxAudio TrueLine XL1i-P 2-way powered line array elements augmented by TL215S sub bass enclosures outfitted with dual 15-inch transducers.
‘First Baptist Church is a very traditional space with lots of architectural features and a balcony,’ Mr Coble explains. ‘The stage faces into the length of the sanctuary and the area itself is quite reverberant. The choir assumes a significant role during services that, for the most part, are traditional in nature. During the holidays, the church also hosts large scale musical productions. Thus, it was crucial that the new loudspeaker system be capable of handling music reproduction while also delivering a high level of speech intelligibility. Equally important, the loudspeakers had to blend aesthetically into the space so as not to be distracting.’
The setup, as deployed by Mr Coble and his team, includes a centre-flown loudspeaker cluster consisting of nine WorxAudio XL1i-P line array elements with one additional XL1i-P enclosure mounted to the rear of the suspended loudspeakers that serves as a monitor system for the choir. Two WorxAudio TL215S subwoofers reside hidden inside a cover behind the loudspeaker array. The entire loudspeaker system is painted white to blend with the aesthetics of the room.
‘With long reverb times associated with a sanctuary built for choir and organ, it was important to keep the sound focused on the seats in order to offer the highest level of speech intelligibility,’ Mr Coble reports. ‘This system design is focused primarily on sound reinforcement as opposed to a full-blown concert rig. However, if called upon, this system has plenty of power to handle any praise band or other guest artists that may perform here.
‘Previously, there had never been an installed loudspeaker system that was visible in this space,’ Mr Coble continues. ‘The loudspeakers were always tucked away behind decorative grilles. On this project, we needed to ensure the loudspeakers looked as good as they sound. With the WorxAudio equipment, the white grilles and hardware made the system blend into the décor very nicely. The setup looks really good with the overall design of the room.’
Mr Coble also reports being very impressed with WorxAudio’s service and support. ‘They even provided us with the product for demonstration purposes,’ he notes, ‘which certainly helped us sell the job.’
Since installation, the new sound system at First Baptist Church is performing well, reports Mr Coble, which has resulted in numerous compliments. ‘We’ve received a lot of positive feedback,’ he elaborates, ‘including from one gentleman who, for quite some time, depended on a hearing assistance device. With the new system, he no longer finds it necessary in order to understand what is being presented. The system’s clarity and coverage are excellent. As system designers, we were also pleased that WorxAudio offers a unique grid that allows a rear facing line array element to be used as a choir monitor. It works perfectly to fill the choir loft while keeping sound off of the walls. The WorxAudio equipment enabled us to deliver a capable system that delivers everything our client expected. It’s been a win-win situation for all involved.’