Bayside Baptist grows with Powersoft, A&H and Fulcrum
USA: Bayside Baptist Church, located in the small city of Superior, Wisconsin, just across a bridge from Duluth, has experienced rapid growth and change, creating demands that outstripped its sanctuary’s 250-person capacity. The church is now holding two Sunday morning services instead of one to accommodate all of its congregants. Meanwhile, worship was evolving to include multimedia and live performances with full rock instrumentation, placing even greater demands on the aging backline system. After deciding to invest in infrastructure upgrades that could help deliver a seamless church-going experience, the church reached out to Caleb Dick of Excel AV Group.
‘They had first contacted us just about upgrading their projectors and screens,’ says Mr Dick, ‘but they mentioned being dissatisfied with their current sound system, so I talked them through some of what was possible.’ As Mr Dick continued to work alongside Bayside Baptist IT administrator Shane McCotter on the visual overhaul, the church decided to invest in a completely revitalised sound system. ‘The system in there was aging and consisted of lower-grade equipment,’ Mr Dick continues. ‘The coverage was lacking, sound quality and intelligibility were poor, and the sightlines were obtrusive.’ Mr Dick was confident this could be improved, and that new equipment could make a difference in delivering a dynamic worship experience. ‘There’s a lot of exciting, loud music that’s part of worship these days, so we wanted to provide plenty of subwoofer power and some extra output overall,’ he says. The Excel AV team assembled a package that included an Allen & Heath mixer feeding Powersoft amplification driving Fulcrum speakers configured specifically for Bayside Baptist’s 250-seat sanctuary.
Mr Dick specified a pair of Fulcrum DX1526 speakers driven by a Powersoft K10 DSP+Aesop for the main front of house speakers and a pair of Fulcrum TS215 speakers powered by a Powersoft K3 DSP+Aesop for the subwoofers, which were small enough to be tucked under the stage and out of sight. The system was rounded out with an Allen & Heath Qu-32 digital audio mixing board. Powersoft’s efficiency reportedly allowed Excel AV to complete the install using the existing electrical capacity, eliminating the need for an expensive power upgrade. Powersoft’s onboard DSP with Armonia software contained all of the tools needed to tune the system. ‘We’ve used Powersoft DSP before and having access to that really great EQ is tremendous,’ Mr Dick elaborates. ‘Plus, with Powersoft we can just take the FIR files from Fulcrum, load them into the amp, and the tuning’s almost done.’ The amplifiers’ small footprints were important, consuming only one rack space per unit, leaving room for Bayside’s six Sennheiser wireless receivers.
When the church’s sound engineers first turned on the new system and listened to a variety of sound sources, they were amazed with the clarity and musicality, Mr Dick reports. ‘They were telling me how they’ve been fighting with these kinds of signals for years and this was the first time they could just turn it on with it sounding awesome,’ he recalls, noting that church staff were especially appreciative of the coverage. ‘We’re within 2dB just about anywhere in the house, so it’s really consistent.’
Bayside Baptist Church may yet have to expand its facility if growth continues apace, but Mr Dick is convinced that the congregation can use its Powersoft amplifiers as a solid foundation for future growth. ‘We use them quite a bit and they really last.’