svc Blogcast
Solsound & Danley Outfit New Lighthouse Church
Monday, December 25, 2017 - 12:11
Bennett Liles

This is the SVC Podcast from Sound & Video Contractor Magazine with Art Reiger of Solsound. Show notes and product links for this one other SVC podcasts are at svconline.com.

It’s always a big thrill for a church to open a big new building and one of the main concerns is getting the video and sound to work perfectly from the very beginning. The Lighthouse Church in Glen Burnie, Maryland got their new 74,000 square foot home and they relied on Art Reiger and Solsound to make sure everything went right. Art is back to finish up his story on how Solsound did exactly that.

Art, it’s good to have you back with us on the SVC Podcast, from Solsound in Galesville, Maryland to finish up on the Lighthouse Church and the work you did for them recently. Growing church, had to find a bigger building and when they did, Solsound came out and equipped it with a new Danley sound system. Not the first work you’ve done for Lighthouse Church and what bigger compliment can you have than being called back to do more work for them?

We were grateful for that, Bennett.

Last week we talked about the Danley system. In addition to that you actually brought part of their old sound system. I think that was an Allen & Heath mixer. Where did you locate that? That’s always a critical thing when they want to get a handle on keeping the sound right.

Yeah, that’s true. Well, often with church projects wherever you can save a few bucks and implement other things, most churches are all over that. And to some extent we’re all over that as well if they have the right things that will implement with their new systems. They did bring in the existing Allen & Heath system, actually the one we had provided for them years ago, and still working great. It’s a GLD mixing surface and an AR2412 stage box. We also supplied an additional AR84 stage box for them to go with the system. So the GLD80 surface and the AR84 were both front of house, and that is straight back from the center stage against the back wall. You know, as sound guys we sure love to be smack down in the middle of the sanctuary where it’s best for us to hear and being against a back wall obviously has a few acoustical challenges. But in the big picture of wanting to fill the seats with the folks they’d like to be there, the production booth ended up in the back. The amp rack, though, did end up backstage and that’s where the AR2412 is housed as well. [Timestamp: 2:42]

Okay. I noticed on the picture I saw that the seating doesn’t elevate toward the back. It’s all flat and one level.

That’s correct. It’s a flat surface. It’s basically an old, or preowned, warehouse facility so you can envision that you’ll kind of know what it looks like on the inside. [Timestamp: 3:00]

Yeah, if the mixing crew was out in the middle of that then they’d be blocking the view of the stage from a lot of seats for sure.

That’s true. That’s true.

So what are we talking about as far as the cable runs from the amps to the speakers? You’ve got a distributed system so it must have been pretty interesting running the cable.

Yeah. Interesting is a bit of an understatement. We originally had spec’d metal conduit from the amp rack for every speaker location, but as often as with budgeting cuts needed to be made in places and so there was a significant amount of conduit taken out of the proposal. What we did get is some home runs from an area up by the stage in the ceiling back to the amp racks, but all the other cabling was run through the trussing up in the air, zip-tied in at different angles, etc. Since we didn’t have the conduit we were trying to use the angled steel judiciously as kind of an RF block, at least on a couple sides of the cable. And then we tried also to run like things together, so speaker cables all joined in one area and kind of bundled more toward the front. DMX all kind of bundled went to the front. We tried to keep all the CAT-5 and CAT-6 stuff for the power conditioning and the projectors in a little bit different area. And we were a little concerned, frankly, how that was all going to work out with no conduit, but we fired everything up and there wasn’t a lick of noise in any of the audio. The projection all looked great and none of the DMX color changing or any of that had any ramifications on anything. So we were pretty grateful. The farthest speaker run that we had, I’m guessing it was probably about 150 feet or a little more from the amp rack in the back to the farthest go-to speaker. So the amp rack that is stage left behind a cinderblock wall – so you can kind of take a guess on all the cable runs as to where they ended up, what the lengths were. [Timestamp: 5:11]

Well, it’s a big place and installing a distributed system would be a challenge but at least you apparently didn’t have to move bolted pews. Those chairs can get out of the way. That probably made things a lot easier.

Oh, my goodness yes. The chairs were one of the last things to come in so up until the point they did we were able to roll through there with a scissor lift pretty easily and take care of not only the cable runs but do all the speaker installation, all the lighting installation, and we had time to tie it up and make it really look cosmetically very nice.

So how long did it take you to get all of that in and ready to ring out and make sure that everything worked right?

[Laughs] It’s all kind of a blur, but I think it was about three months start to finish. It would have been a little quicker, but as anybody who’s in the construction industry or installation part of the industry knows things – I heard a pastor joke once that there’s two things for sure on an installation. It’s going to take longer than you thought and it’s going to cost more than you planned. So due to circumstances beyond our control, it did take a little longer, although I would say we came in on budget and it did not cost a dime more. So not so bad. [Timestamp: 6:27]

And we mentioned in Part 1 the Vivtek projectors and Da-Lite screens. How do you get the video signal up to those projectors? Is it an HDBaseT run or something?

Yeah, it was HDBaseT and we shielded CAT-6 cable and ran it right from the front of house booth right to the projector and came out great. [Timestamp: 6:47]

Those Da-Lite screens are very prominent and when they light up that has to be a fantastic display on both sides of the stage.

Yeah. It looked really great. We were a little bit concerned going in that we wouldn’t have enough brightness on the screen so we did a couple of things. We upgraded the projectors from 8K’s to 12’s. And with the changes in pricing in laser technology we had originally spec’d in 8K lasers, but being a little concerned that they wouldn’t be bright enough we went to lamp-based 12K. And then also put screens in that had a little bit more gain to them as well. And so the result of that was even with all the lights on full go including the front lighting of the stage that gets right up to the edge of the screens, it looked pretty impressive when we fired those things up. There was just more wows coming out of the people than we’ve heard in quite a while on something like that. So it was great and everybody was thrilled. [Timestamp: 7:51]

And you’ve got Elation LED lighting and I guess the only real trick with that was to keep those off the screens.

Yeah. We kind of did them in the seating area zones. And so we did do a little positioning and a little diffusion in those to take the beaminess out of fixtures. So we kind of had to watch that a little bit. And used a couple of different kinds of diffusion in there to get all the zones to blend nicely and that took a little bit of playing around with. But once we had landed on the right solution it came out wonderful. [Timestamp: 8:26]

Always a big moment when everything is connected and adjusted and the testing is ready to go. How did all of that go? Sounds like it all worked okay.

Yeah, it went great. We had a bit of a luxury in that once we got all the audio in we were able to spend several days just kind of tweaking and tuning and listening and checking our speaker positions. I know we had everything spot on on these models, but you always want to kind of do a walk around; kind of listen at different kinds of programs through, particularly the kind of program that the customer plans on reproducing in the room. And with the help of the Danley guys, their DSP guys – well, first the platform is very easy to program and very easy to work with, which was really nice. Second, as many manufacturers do they have some kind of tweaked presets for their different cabinets which help you make a lot of progress on your system tuning up front to where once you set your relative amp levels to blend your zones and all that there wasn’t a whole lot more tweaking we had to do in terms of different box EQ’s and that kind of thing. It all came together really quick and it was nice. It was nice. [Timestamp: 9:44]

I know the next time they need anything they’ll be calling Solsound but in addition to that what else do you have coming up?

Since that we’ve completed several church installation projects local to the DC/Baltimore, Maryland area. We just finished a project just in the last week. It’s another Danley project with an Allen & Heath GLD console and ME1 personal monitor mixers. And we have two more projects that we just started this week. One is another church down in Washington, DC, a beautiful, traditional Presbyterian Church – all stone and big walnut beams on the inside. Just a big pipe organ. Beautiful place. And so we’ll be working in that one for a couple of weeks. And then also we’ll be starting a restaurant project in Columbia, Maryland next week as well supplying all audio for their restaurants, all their security cameras, their in-house telephone system, quite a few displays and everything that goes with all that. [Timestamp: 10:55]

That would have to keep it interesting not just doing churches but other types of projects and some church production, too. When they walk in to their new bigger place and the sound and video all comes up it’s got to really be a thrill. And you get to see their reaction to all of your work. Good to hear about the project. It’s Art Reiger from Solsound in Galesville, Maryland and the new and bigger Lighthouse Church in nearby Glen Burnie. Good of you to tell us about it and how you got it all done.

We’re grateful for the opportunity, Bennett. Thanks so much.

It was great having Art Reiger from Solsound on the show with us. We’ve got all the show notes and product links on the Sound & Video Contractor Magazine web site at svconline.com. More stories are coming up so be back with us again next week for the SVC Podcast.

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