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Shoebox Solution: QSC at Wilson Baptist Church

Shoebox Solution: QSC at Wilson Baptist Church

Feb 2, 2006 8:00 AM

Architecturally speaking, Wilson Baptist Church is a traditional house of worship built in a style embraced widely throughout the South in the early-to-mid 20th century. Long and narrow with a low ceiling, the layout provides a clear, unobstructed view from front to back, but nonetheless proved to be challenging when the congregation decided to upgrade its audio not long ago.

“Wilson Baptist is a church built in the classic shoebox style,” notes Kelly Carter of HamesPro, the design/build systems integration firm tasked with giving the sanctuary new voice. “When I first visited the site, I found a pair of full-range loudspeakers hung on either side of the pulpit. For Winfred Wilson, the minister of music, the biggest problem with this arrangement occurred when the system was turned up enough to enable the people in the rear pews to hear, and the people in the front row were blasted out of their seats. Clearly, it was time for a change.”

Based in Gaffney, S.C., HamesPro took a distributed approach to devising a new blueprint, enlisting a half-dozen of QSC Audio‘s AcousticDesign AD-S82H loudspeakers to cover the house and a pair of AD-S82 enclosures to serve as stage monitors. Deployed in a line suspended from the ceiling along a 90ft. span stretching from the pulpit to the house mix position at the other end of the sanctuary, the six modular AD-S82H cabinets were spaced in three rows of two each with the goal of providing smooth, intelligible sound not wavering beyond +/-3dB in coverage from front to back. Mounted on the back of the row of AD-S82Hs nearest the pulpit and facing toward the stage, the single pair of AD-S82s are barely visible from the pews.

“Along with the need for bringing the proper sonic solution to the church’s audio problems, aesthetics played a major role in our design decisions,” Carter relates. “Since the rest of the sanctuary was getting a modern makeover as well, a high priority was placed upon appearance. The AcousticDesign speakers are compact, unobtrusive, pleasing to the eye, and matched the decor perfectly right out of the box. With both looks and performance working for it, we really were able to offer the client the best of all worlds by specifying them.”

Compact, two-way ported enclosures suspended from Wilson Baptist’s ceiling using optional yoke mounts supplied by QSC, the AcousticDesign loudspeakers were delivered in white. While both are 8in., two-way systems with 90°x60° nominal coverage patterns (-6dB), the AD-S82H speakers differ from the AD-S82s in that they incorporate a high-output design built around a low-frequency transducer featuring a 2in. voice coil and a 1in. high-frequency compression driver.

A pair of QSC’s RMX 1450 amplifiers provides power for the loudspeaker arrays. “The amps and loudspeakers are a perfect combination,” Carter says. “While the services here are traditional, they are without question extremely high-energy. As a whole, the system can exceed anything the congregation may throw at it, and still have headroom to burn.”

Carter, who, in addition to being HamesPro’s senior system design specialist, is a performer in his own right, was invited to sing at Wilson Baptist a month after he finished the system installation this summer just past. “I can honestly say it’s one of the better dates I’ve done,” he readily admits. “I did some old hymns by request, and the congregation loved it. Just as importantly, everyone came up afterwards and raved about how much the sound had improved. As things turned out, we actually surpassed our own goals. Measurements showed that coverage was +/-1dB from front to back, not +/-3dB as originally intended. Now that was indeed something to sing out loud about, and I feel confident that the church will be doing just that with this system for many years to come.”

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