May 11, 2012
The old maxim "the right tool for the job" is as important for sound system design as for any other type of contracting. Successful installations often require fielding a set of components that each provide the precise characteristics needed for a given application but also offer a consistent overall sound signature. With product lines that cover the full range of situations encountered in real-world installations, Electro-Voice is one of the few manufacturers with sufficient breadth and depth to deliver on that score. That's why BCI Integrated Solutions of Tampa, Florida frequently relies on Electro-Voice loudspeakers in its design and installation projects, including the new sound system at St. Jerome Roman Catholic Church in nearby Largo.
Now in its sixth decade, St. Jerome serves more than 6,200 parishioners in a unique facility featuring a large central pyramid and three smaller satellites. The central structure, whose peak reaches 60 feet, houses the main worship area, a square whose sides measure 110 feet. The altar is at the northeast corner, faced by seating for approximately 800. The worship style is focused on mainstream Catholic services featuring traditional instruments and spoken word.
The St. Jerome facility underwent substantial renovation and expansion in 2011, with new interior finishes featuring harder surface materials. That made it all the more crucial that the new sound system deliver sound to the congregants without generating excess reflected sound. The churches pyramid shape played a major role in how loudspeakers were chosen and deployed. "The main challenges related to shape of the room," says Michael Fraioli, system designer at BCI, "both in terms of the acoustics and the fact that the rigging points are on the slanted walls."
"Given that the room is a pyramid," Fraioli continues, "we felt that the best option was to fly the cabinets." With that in mind, BCI needed a product line in which all the components—both full range and subs—could be flown. Other criteria included excellent frequency response and power handling, as well as availability in white to match the church's decor. Electro-Voice's EVF line turned out to be a great fit on all counts. "In the EV line," Fraioli says, "the full-range loudspeakers, subwoofers, and choir monitors all complemented each other in terms of the consistency of the sound and the look of the cabinets. And when we compared in EASE, the high frequency coverage pattern of the full-range EVFs was much smoother than with competing loudspeakers."
The main system is flown as three separate clusters, one covering each main section of pews. Each cluster is made up of one EVF-1122S/126 12-inch two-way full-range loudspeaker and one EVF-1151S 15-inch front-loaded bass element. Choir fill is provided by a flown pair of Electro-Voice ZX3-90W 12-inch two-way full-range loudspeakers. "With the walls all being slanted towards each other," Fraioli says, "we were initially unsure of how the acoustics of the room would affect the overall sound quality. So to ensure a high quality result we used EASE to confirm coverage patterns and intelligibility."
The depth of the Electro-Voice line allowed BCI to choose loudspeakers that gave them the specific size and coverage patterns they needed. "The high and low enclosures are matched so that they hang well together," Fraioli says. "The fact that EV has a product line which encompasses all of the loudspeakers needed under one style of cabinet makes the system very aesthetically appealing."
Fraioli describes the church as being "extremely pleased with the system’s ability to overcome the reverberation added by the new hard surfaces while still maintaining high quality musical reproduction. When a church uses their sound system mainly for spoken word, intelligibility is extremely important, and the intelligibility and performance of this system is incredible. The coverage and clarity of the EVF cabinets are what made this installation possible."