RED DEER, ALBERTA, CANADA – JANUARY 2012: Living Stones Church in Red Deer, Alberta has a rather unique expansion plan. When funds are available, the church has plans to knock out one of the sanctuary sidewalls in order to build out the room’s mirror image. The result will be a wide, fan-shaped room that effectively doubles seating capacity from 700 to approximately 1,400. In anticipation of that expansion and because problems with the existing sound system had become unbearable, Living Stones Church contracted Merge Systems Inc. of Edmonton to design and install a new loudspeaker system for the existing sanctuary. With their excellent pattern control and robust manufacturing process, Lance Spratt of Merge Systems specified Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers and subwoofers to replace the system in the existing sanctuary.
“The old system was remarkably inconsistent,” explained Spratt. “In some seats you could hardly make out what was being said; in other locations the system punished your ears. Far from meeting their needs for contemporary worship services the system was hurting and distracting the congregation.” There was nothing wrong with the old products; they were simply deployed in the wrong application. “There were two loudspeaker cabinets that were being asked to cover more (bandwidth and physical area) than they were designed to,” he continued. “Never mind all the nuanced ways that good systems can go bad. This one simply didn’t cover the congregation. It was doomed from the start.”
Beyond providing Living Stones with minimally adequate coverage, as taught in Sound Reinforcement 101, Spratt was committed to making their new system sound eminently intelligible and musical for every seat in the sanctuary. “Tom Danley’s innovations result in transparent, articulate loudspeaker cabinets that array beautifully, with minimal required processing and amp channels,” he said. “In addition, Danley’s impressive pattern control down into the lower frequency range help to keep sound energy off the walls, an important consideration in this active acoustical environment.” Spratt worked with Chad Edwardson at Danley Sound Labs to ensure that a design that worked for the existing sanctuary would still perform as desired when mirrored. “I also spoke with [Danley president] Mike [Hedden], who assured me that the Danley cabinets we installed today would still be available when the facility expansion commences,” said Spratt. “He explained that the way they design the growing family of SH-series loudspeakers and TH-series subwoofers meant they would not be discontinued.”
Despite limited availability of loudspeaker rigging locations, Spratt designed a system that would deliver even coverage to the congregation without acoustically exciting the sanctuary walls. On each of the two laminated beams hang two tight-packed Danley SH-50s – four SH-50s in all. Below each cluster hangs a Danley SH-95, which provides down fill for the first few rows. A pair of Danley TH-115 subwoofers fill in the already generous low end from strategic locations on the floor. “I would have preferred to fly the subwoofers,” Spratt said. “But our limited rigging options made it extremely difficult to fly and unsightly.” Crest amplifiers deliver power to the system, and a Xilica processor provides modest processing.
Perhaps the greatest compliment comes from the church itself. Music and Fine Arts Pastor at Living Stones, Darren Aucoin comments: “We are very pleased with the results of our new speaker system. We had some very unique sound needs in our sanctuary that would not be met with any conventional way of thinking. Merge/Danley designed a solution for us that has met our needs, and in some ways have exceeded them. I have had many people come to me to compliment the improved sound projection as well as sound quality. The added bonus was the overall and low-end volume capabilities of our new speakers. We have TONS of headroom, and are able to provide quality sound at low or high volumes without blowing anybody away.”
“It doesn’t matter where you sit,” Spratt states,” every seat gets the same full-range signal. From our standpoint, we received timely assistance and answers from Danley when we needed them, and the products performed exactly as advertised. It will be fun to double the system when the church builds out a mirror image. All the hard work is already done and all that’s left is the installation!”
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