New York (May 17, 2011)—The First Congregational Church in Ft. Lauderdale, FL recently got a new Electro-Voice PA installed by Dave Armstrong of sound design and installation company, Sound Planning.
The architecture of the church features a 55-foot ceiling. Supported by elaborate wooden trusses that evoke the shape of the cross, the ceiling gives the room an inspiring effect, but, unfortunately, not inspiring acoustics. Due to the cavernous space and a beautiful stained glass window that makes up the entire back wall of the church, it's long been challenging for congregants to make out what was being said in the 50-year-old sanctuary.
Armstrong's solution was to cover the entire seating area of the church with a single EVH, which hangs in the middle above the steps between the main floor and the stage. The areas behind the steps are covered with a pair of Electro-Voice ZX1 composite 8-inch two-way loudspeakers, which provide choir fill. There are also four ZXA1s, the self-powered version of the ZX1, used as floor monitors immediately in front of the band. The church also purchased two Electro-Voice RE2/410 handheld wireless microphones for singers, and an RE2/E wireless headset for the minister.
"What made this particular job somewhat unique for us," Armstrong says, "is that it set the record for how high we've had to go to hang a speaker. The box is probably hanging 35 feet off the floor. But we had to go all the way to the peak at 50 feet to attach the chains and pull the wires. There was no way to use any kind of a lift, so we had to build up scaffolding that high, which was downright scary, and then take down the old equipment and hang the new speaker."
With the EVH placed where it is, Armstrong says, "the vast majority of the sound is projected directly down onto the audience. And it’s away from any structure, so we get a really clean sound for both music and speech. It reduced the reverberation in the room to a point where it’s negligible."
The new Electro-Voice system generated "immediate, positive results," Armstrong adds, with affirmative feedback from both church staff and congregants. Armstrong's favorite came one day when he was doing some follow-up work after the first service on the new system. "A member of the church -- not on staff, just a casual observer -- happened to be there. He came up and said, 'I never realized how bad our sound system was until I heard the new one.' And that was quite a compliment."