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Danley SM Loudspeakers Bring Intelligibility to the Reverberant Sanctuary at Coral Hill Baptist Church

GLASGOW, KENTUCKY: Located near Mammoth Cave National Park, Coral Hill Baptist Church has long been a cornerstone for the community in Glasgow, Kentucky. Without going so far as to include moving lights or haze machines, Coral Hill’s blended services offer a tremendous range of musical styles, both within a given service and from week to week. When steady growth made its old, traditional sanctuary too cramped, Coral Hill Baptist Church made plans for a new sanctuary adjacent to the old sanctuary with seating for three hundred. Local AV integration firm Red Ranger Media worked with the church to design and install a Danley Sound Labs sound reinforcement system that would support their wide variety of musical styles and deliver crystal-clear intelligibility despite an abundance of reflective concrete and dry wall surfaces.

“In moving from their old sanctuary to a new sanctuary of their own design, Coral Hill Baptist Church wanted to decrease the distance to the back row to make the services as intimate as the senior pastor of 32 years had always wanted them to be,” explained Allen Cothran, owner of Red Ranger Media. “The new sanctuary is thus very wide with a short throw – no more than forty feet to the back row of seating. The floor is concrete and the walls are dry wall, so good pattern control was essential. On top of that, Coral Hill’s services might include everything from traditional hymns to a high-energy praise band. There might be pedal steel one week and no guitars at all the next week. They even have a Bluegrass service once a month!”

Given their reflective nature, the subject of acoustical treatments for the walls came up repeatedly throughout the process. “Since they were on a tight budget, I suggested we could achieve the goals of the sound reinforcement system without acoustical treatments if we went with Danley’s patented point-source technology,” Cothran said. “Danley boxes are well-controlled and, with the right models in place, keep energy on people and off of the walls and ceiling. When we inevitably got into budget-cutting conversations, I said we can cut on microphones, amplifiers, and other system components, but I wasn’t gonna budge on Danley. I knew we needed Danley technology to pull it all together, especially on a tight budget.”

Cothran used Danley Direct modeling software to perfect his design. “I started with a left-right design using Danley SM96s, but it was clear I’d be missing the edges,” he said. “But when I swapped them out for SM60Fs and added an SM96 in the center, everything came together beautifully. I ran the model past the engineers at Danley, and they made a few small tweaks. We installed the system as designed and then had to pull our scaffolding down immediately so that carpet could be installed on the stage. We fired the system up and were relieved to find that the coverage was perfect and exactly as the model had predicted. From previous Danley installations and this latest experience at Coral Hill, I have come to appreciate Danley’s predictability.”

Cothran intended to give Coral Hill Baptist Church a full-range sound system, and the church wanted a full-range sound system. But the church was also oddly cool on the idea of including “subwoofers” because a well-meaning congregant had brought one into a service years ago and hooked it up to their existing system. “It hadn’t gone well,” Cothran reported. “They told me the whole service had a roaring sound that was distracting and awful. So, their idea of a ‘subwoofer’ was a bad experience!” Since the Danley SM60Fs already include extended low end to 66Hz and since the church didn’t need concert-level slamming kicks, a simple Danley THmini15 flown above the center SM96 fills out the sonic picture perfectly.

An Ashly nXp 1.54 powers the system with onboard DSP for modest input and loudspeaker conditioning, and an Allen & Heath SQ-6 digital mixer gives church tech volunteers control of the system. “System commissioning was fast and easy,” Cothran said. “We fired it up, adjusted the crossover point, set the levels, and that was basically it. There’s a little bit of equalization in the 300-500Hz range, but it’s modest – less than 4dB.” A custom 20-foot by 8-foot Draper Onyx screen illuminated by two edge-blended NEC PA-series laser projectors gives Coral Hill visual impact commensurate with the new sanctuary’s sound quality.

The Danley sound quality at Coral Hill Baptist Church is not subtle. “I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me and commented on how good the system sounds,” said Andy Brownfield, youth pastor & media director at the church. “We’re blown away!”

Danley Sound Labs is the exclusive home of Tom Danley, one of the most innovative loudspeaker designers in the industry today and recognized worldwide as a pioneer for “outside the box” thinking in professional audio technology.

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