SLS LS8695 Line Array Systems Grace Two Churches

Oct 7, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors

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Atlanta-based systems contractor Tony Shannon of VisionQuest recently installed four of SLS’ new LS8695 line array systems in two local churches: North Metro Church (shown) and Grace Fellowship; three other installations are currently in progress using the systems.

North Metro and Grace Fellowship were very different projects, a ground-up job and a redesign, respectively, but Shannon found that the SLS LS8695 worked equally well for each job. Both had their own unique acoustical challenges and using a combination of the SLS speakers, SLS’ Line Array Simulator Software (LASS) and Shannon’s laser-guided placement system, he was able to overcome any installation obstacles. Shannon noted that the speakers’ plug-and-play capabilities also came in handy.

The worship leader at North Metro, Sonny Lallerstedt, is also an accomplished guitarist and studio musician. As a former recording studio owner and engineer, Lallerstedt was familiar with how the studio environment sounds, from a near-field point of view, and he wanted to duplicate that in the system installed in his church.

Shannon further explained, “The monitor speakers you would use for near-field recording in a studio are typically designed for close proximity, anywhere from three to 10 feet away, and are designed to provide a premium listening experience. The SLS line arrays, the way we have them installed, provide that same experience at distances of up to 70 feet, so they can provide even coverage for a large area and a large number of people.”

Shannon complemented the LS8695 with four of SLS’ dual 18-inch subwoofer cabinets to add more low end in the room. “It’s extremely hi-fi,” he said. “It’s well-imaged and from anywhere in the room, you hear it in stereo just as if you were sitting in your living room. And if you’re sitting in front of a speaker or sitting in the back of the room, you hear equally as well. It doesn’t blow the people in the front row out, and it doesn’t make it hard for those in the back to hear.”

Grace Fellowship, which moved into a new facility two years ago, also has a contemporary format, with a band and a worship team that accompanies services on Sunday. However, the sanctuary also serves as a multipurpose room, used by youth groups on weeknights and for various other functions. “It’s typically more difficult to make a multipurpose room ‘work’ in terms of audio as compared to strictly a worship space,” Shannon said.

The 650-capacity Grace Fellowship also had other issues: The new building was not well-designed architecturally in terms of acoustics. Also, the original sound system that was installed was not adequate for the building.

“Intelligibility was a big problem, as far as hearing the pastor and understanding sermons,” Shannon said. “It’s a very difficult room: octagonal, like a stop sign, 90 feet across with a 45-foot wooden parabolic ceiling. If you stand in the middle of the room, it is equidistant to the ceiling and to any wall. The reverberation has been tamed to about 3-and-a-half seconds, which is great if you want to use pipe organs or a big orchestral ensemble, but terrible if you need to understand what someone is saying or if you are using contemporary-style music. It’s just too long of a reverb time.” Cost estimates to make further acoustic improvements were out of the church’s reach.

Once again, the SLS LS8695 line arrays were called into use. “We put the line arrays in there, and now it sounds wonderful,” Shannon said. “Everyone hears well, everyone loves it.”

Shannon used SLS’ LASS system with lasers for precision placement. First, the room is plotted using computer-aided design (CAD) software. Then, LASS double-checks that application. “With LASS, we can make a very good prediction on how even one degree of aim or six inches of height in the location of cabinet can make a difference in how a room sounds,” Shannon said. “Then our riggers set straight laser pointers on the cabinets, and we give them targets in the room to hit with these points. They do their alignments with the cabinet focused at those targets. We basically tape an ‘X’ mark on the walls and floors; wherever that cabinet has to aim and give them a target to hit. And when you walk away, what you saw in the drawing is what you get in the room. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of hanging speakers.”

For more information on SLS, visit www.slsloudspeakers.com.






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