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Case Study: Cavalry Baptist Church, PA

The snow kept falling and falling. And falling. Reaching two feet, the weight of the snow was too much for the roof to bear at Calvary Fellowship. Ruptured pipes irreparably flooded the 1,100-seat sanctuary at a cost of over a million dollars in damage. “Luckily nobody was hurt,” says a thankful Lee Wiggins, head pastor at the church.

The restoration changed the physical design of the space, as improvements were made at all levels, which rendered the budget to complete important final details relatively low.

Clair Brothers was faced with a number of challenges in their effort to deliver a full-frequency PA sound system that wouldn’t take up floor space but had to fit architecturally while also not interrupting the space’s new lighting and video projection systems. “Our toughest challenge was figuring out how to overcome the washed up sound common in many churches, where the audio waves underneath the low balcony ceiling get lost,” explains Josh Sadd, chief design engineer at Clair Brothers. “It’s not enjoyable for the people sitting in those seats.”

The physical and budgetary limitations required Clair Brothers to work through multiple possible speaker combinations. In a perfect world, the PA would consist of a line array of eight-inch speakers and separate subwoofers in different areas, such as behind the array, alongside it and in the center, and possibly subwoofers on the ground. But the cost would have been too high. Amid such constraints, Clair Brothers began to deduce a solution that pointed toward using a system with a more full-range, larger format PA, but using a smaller quantity. The idea being to scale the sound system by quantity without compromising low-frequency subwoofer size. The Clair Brothers team decided the best course was to install three of its signature i218s per side as the main PA, which would act as the left/right PA and transmit the low-end sound of a subwoofer. Two kiTCurve12 cabinets were installed as the center cluster, performing as front fills to attain the most effective vocal imaging in the front.

The stage positioned in the corner conveys a baseball diamond-like configuration, which meant Clair Brothers had to work with a wide, yet long, distance within the church’s space. The logical solution then was to aim the PA in a way that covered the entire room, including the seats beneath the balcony. The result is a balanced sound that plays to all parishioners, on the main floor, up in the balcony and underneath. The speaker configuration also focuses the sonic image to the person speaking onstage.

All told, the system only consists of i218s and kiTCurve12s – a total of eleven speaker boxes. With this bold approach, Clair Brothers saved Calvary Fellowship not only thousands in costs but also on amp channels, with less wire to pull and significantly fewer labor hours. Rob Barr, production coordinator at Calvary Fellowship points out: “This new arrangement works on every level. It covers the entire space with full frequency range.” Adds Pastor Lee: “If there’s a silver lining to the catastrophic roof collapse it’s that our church is now better than ever.”


Clair Brothers i218

Built for maximum output (145dB max) and coverage, the array incorporates a new approach in modular midrange and high frequency technology, designed for controlled directivity. Enclosures have structurally integrated bimodal rigging that allow vertical coverage to be customized to meet the specific needs of an application. 

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