Elite Multimedia Reprises Electro-Voice Install at First United Methodist
Raised in an era of pristine digital sound, today's generation of church-goers expects to hear clarity and fullness when attending contemporary services. That can be a challenge for installers working in spaces that weren't originally designed with good sound in mind. By meeting that challenge successfully, however, installers may actually whet their clients' appetite for better sound, leading to additional installation projects at the same site. A case in point is First United Methodist in Jonesboro, Arkansas, where Elite Multimedia of Memphis, Tennessee recently completed a second Electro-Voice sound system installation.
Elite's initial project for First United Methodist was to design and install an Electro-Voice sound system in a gym that was being converted into a dual-purpose Fellowship Hall to accommodate rapidly growing attendance at contemporary services. Elite's BJ Shaver says that when the church decided to upgrade the sound in its main sanctuary, "they already had a positive impression of Electro-Voice from the system we had installed in the Fellowship Hall." Elite proposed an Electro-Voice system for the sanctuary as well, and once again got the job.
"The variety and quality of EV components allows us to offer HOW customers great-sounding systems that fit their budgets, so that's a win for everybody," Shaver says. "Plus we get great customer support. On this install, for instance, we modeled the room with the EVA Design Assistant (EVADA) modeling software, but EV also verified the design for us to be sure that we were on the right track. Unlike some of the other companies where it's hard to even get anybody on the phone, we've been able to establish a close working relationship with EV."
Seating between 900 and 1000, the FUMC sanctuary hosts services that Shaver describes as "traditional but sometimes with a contemporary music band. So they need quality sound across the entire seating area." The building is old and features a deep balcony that wraps far around the stage on both sides, as well as stained glass in the outer walls. "It's a hard room," Shaver says, "because the balcony is very close and also very deep. Before they had a cluster in there, just a box-and-horn setup, and the sound was a bit of a mess, frankly."
The foundation of the new system is a center-flown array made up of five EVA-2082S full-range dual element line array modules. "The 2082s have phenomenal output given that the low end is just two 8-inch drivers," Shaver says. "For the bottom two elements, we used 2082S/1220s. They have a 20-degree vertical dispersion pattern, which gives us our front fill. Above those we used three 2082S/126s, which have six-degree dispersion for longer-throw distances. They help us project the sound to the back of the room."
Shaver is enthusiastic about Electro-Voice's design philosophy for the EVAs, which have put array-quality sound within easier reach of customers with modest budgets. "What's cool about the 2082s," he says, "is that with each box you are basically getting two line array elements in one cabinet. And EV has built in the ability to pad the top and bottom parts of the cabinet independently if you need to. They had the forethought to design the boxes in a way that makes it more affordable to take advantage of line array performance."
Shaver also likes the fact that the speakers are "seamless between boxes. They interact really well, and sound like one speaker, not five separate speakers. With most competitors' boxes there are a lot of phase interactions so you can hear the boundary between each box. But you don't notice that with the 2082s."
The system's low end is augmented with a single QRx218S dual 18-inch sub hanging behind the main array. "Between the 8-inch speakers in the 2082s and the double 18s in the sub we are getting a nice rich bass," Shaver says. "It's surprising how much low end it can reproduce even though it's not intended as a full concert system."
To cover where the array can't reach, Elite flew two EVF-1152/94 15-inch full-range cabinets for side fill and one EVF-1122/96 12-inch full-range cabinet pointing down and back for choir fill. "The EVFs have a rotatable horn," Shaver says, "and are easy to fly horizontally or vertically." Under-balcony fill, meanwhile, is handled by four Xi-1082s on a delay ring. "They’re low-profile and sound really good out of the box," Shaver says.
The under-balcony delay is just one of the processing tasks handled by the system's NetMax N8000-1500 digital matrix controller, which provides all EQ, delay, and limiting for the speaker system. The N8000 feeds a combination of Electro-Voice CPS 2.12 and CPS 4.5 multi-channel amplifiers. "The Contractor Precision Series is a very good amp for installations," Shaver says. "All gain knobs are on the back, which helps prevent tampering."
Having now relied twice on Elite's recommendation of Electro-Voice sound systems, First United Methodist are “more than happy with this system," Shaver says. "They've loved it from the first time we fired it up."