ATLANTA, GEORGIA – JANUARY 2013: IHOP Atlanta is a 24/7 church that spans the time between its frequent services with continuous prayer meetings, a fact that lends sincerity to its full name: International House of Prayer Atlanta. In the year that followed after its October 2004 founding, IHOP rapidly transitioned to the 24/7 cycle, and the prayer meeting that convened on February 12, 2006 is still going without interruption! However, noise complaints from neighbors, engendered primarily by the high-energy rock bands that play a few times a week, threatened the church’s M.O. To correct the problem, IHOP Atlanta hired Pensacola-based A/V integration firm Soundscapes. Now, Danley Sound Labs loudspeakers, which have tremendous pattern control even at low frequencies, focus energy on the congregants and away from the walls. As a result, the “listen-to-leak” ratio is greatly improved, and the church is enjoying Danley’s clean, transparent sound as a bonus.
“Danley’s pattern control is the key to this installation,” said Langston Holland, owner and chief designer with Soundscapes. “I flew three rows of three Danley SH-100s. The patterns hit the sidewalls at about four feet, which puts church members in the coverage as they walk the aisles praying, but deflects excess energy down to the carpeted floor. Moreover, the coverage patterns from each row just kiss the patterns of the rows before or after, so you primarily hear sound from a single loudspeaker, no matter where you are.” To make that work, the first row is facing almost straight down, the last row is at 45 degrees, and the middle row is intermediate. Holland hung them as low as possible without threatening sight lines, thereby increasing perceived SPLs according to the inverse square law.
Because music is such an important component of IHOP Atlanta’s services and prayer meetings, Holland avoided “over-delaying” the middle and rear speakers, a trick that helps locate sounds to the stage via the precedence effect but that also tends to smear them out, which is most noticeable on staccato elements like rim shots. Instead, each row of Danley SH-100s is delayed per its actual distance from the stage. A Peavey Media Matrix delivers the processing, including a 95Hz crossover for the church’s existing subwoofer array. Three new QSC amplifiers join three existing QSC amplifiers to power the system.
To add excitement and dimension to their mixes, Holland installed the new Danley SH-100s with stereo output. But to avoid unintended consequences of operator error, he blended the center loudspeaker so that everybody gets at least some left and right coverage. “They’re grinning ear to ear,” he reported. “They’ve never actually heard their stereo effects before, and now they’re hearing delays ping back and forth and the subtle tails of reverbs. With the old system, their console was a total mess of radical EQ adjustments, but with the Danley speakers, everything is basically flat. The few minor adjustments are for aesthetics and impact, not to fix problems.”
The new Danley system also gives IHOP Atlanta more clean headroom than it had previously. “That was initially a problem,” Holland said. “It sounded so good that they didn’t realize they were pushing louder than ever!” He inserted some limiting to curb their exuberance. Measurements taken at the neighbor’s house before and after the new Danley system was installed demonstrate that everything above the subwoofers is completely fixed and there is no perceptible or measureable energy there. “The band runs 104dB SPL C-Slow for their Thursday night youth services, and it’s pristine in the auditorium,” said Holland. “Inside the neighbor’s house it measures 50dB SPL unweighted at about 60Hz for about four minutes before and after the preaching, which is the loudest portion of their set.”
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