Calvary Baptist Church Aims At Near-Field

FOH Staff • News • July 5, 2006

CLEARWATER, FL–In 1866, the Midway Baptist Church became the first house of worship in Clearwater, Fla., when its founder, Reverend C.S. Reynolds, supervised the construction of a log cabin church. Known today as Calvary Baptist Church, the congregation now worships in a 2,500 seat, state-of-the-art facility on a 28-acre site. Thrasher Design Group of Kennesaw, Ga., was retained to design the system, while Technical Resource Group of Largo, Fla., performed the installation using Meyer speakers.

The physical shape of the room presented an audio design challenge. Principal consultant Bill Thrasher describes the sanctuary as "a fan-shaped room, not one of my favorite kinds of spaces to design for because the curved rear wall is difficult to deal with acoustically."

To minimize reflections back to the stage, Thrasher devised a semi-distributed system consisting of three rings of ceiling-hung loudspeaker clusters. Each cluster consists of one CQ-2 narrow coverage main loudspeaker paired with a USW-1P compact subwoofer. "It's very much a near-field concept, with a lot of direct sound to every seat," notes Thrasher. There are three clusters in the first ring, four clusters in the middle ring, and six more in the outer ring. To maintain clean sightlines to the room's video screens, the clusters are hung at a nominal height of about 28 feet, and angled downward as much as 50° to keep sound off the walls to the greatest extent possible. Even in Calvary Baptist's large auditorium, no seat is more than 80 feet from a speaker. Rounding out the system is Meyer Sound's RMS remote monitoring system, which provides real-time operating data from every loudspeaker in the system.

"I like to tune the room, not the speaker," Thrasher explains. "When I get good direct sound from the loudspeaker to each listener, then I can use room acoustics to control reflections. I'm a big fan of using as little EQ as possible."

The worship band at Calvary Baptist is really more of a small orchestra, replete with acoustic sources. The 10 principal vocalists are backed by a musical ensemble that includes piano, drums, cello, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, and a harp; plus electric guitar and bass. Behind them all is a full choir on risers. With so many acoustic sources on stage and a house system typically operated at 95 to 98 dB SPL, feedback was an obvious concern. Apple has taken steps to maintain sonic control on stage. All instrument amplifiers have been removed from the stage, eliminating volume wars. Aviom personal mixing stations are used instead of floor wedges for the house band, while the monitor system for the 100-voice choir consists of just three UPA-1P compact wide coverage loudspeakers.

For more info, visit www.meyersound.com.

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