Electro‑Voice PA system welcomes Imani Temple Ministries to new sanctuary

February 16, 2011

It’s often installations involving the biggest and most complex sound systems that get the most attention. But the daily bread of the House of Worship market is in serving the needs of small to medium churches, where simpler solutions may offer just the right fit. At the new home of Imani Temple Ministries in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, for example, professional AV specialist Jim Madden of NPI Audio Video Solutions was asked to design and install a sound system that not only met the church’s current needs, but was also ready for any future developments in the congregation’s worship style. Madden’s response was an Electro-Voice system built on just six loudspeaker cabinets but offering exceptional clarity, power, and intelligibility.

Madden describes Imani’s worship style as full-out gospel. “It’s a very spirit-led service,” he says, “that is driven by both the preaching and the music.” The band currently consists of a drummer, a Hammond organist with a Leslie cabinet, and two synthesizers, with the addition of a bassist and guitarist planned for the near future. A gospel choir also plays an important role in services.

“when you compare quality and price to other manufacturers, EV is pretty hard to argue with.”

The sanctuary at the new location, which formerly housed a Catholic church, seats approximately 400 people on the main floor and another 100 in a balcony at the rear. The walls are cement covered block, and a false ceiling of wood slats hangs at about 22 feet high, covering the actual ceiling two feet above with a 1 foot opening at the edges. “That slat ceiling has a lot to do with how good the room sounds despite the block walls,” Madden says. “The indirect sound that gets up into that area is sort of trapped and doesn’t come back out.”

Madden says that the most important factor in his choice of Electro-Voice for the new PA system was his “20 years of experience installing Electro-Voice products with very positive results. The Electro-Voice boxes are very articulate. And when you compare quality and price to other manufacturers, EV is pretty hard to argue with.”

“Another thing I particularly like about EV,” Madden adds, “is that they sound more consistent from low to high volume. Some of the competing boxes sound good when you hit them hard, but they get thin really fast when you turn it down. The Imani service is very forceful, but there are other times, weddings, funerals, bible study, etc., when the system is not going to be run hot, and it still has to sound good. Electro-Voice does that very well.”

To define the specific system, Madden worked with regional Electro-Voice representative C. L. Pugh & Associates, based in Brunswick, Ohio. “Jason Jacquemain from C. L. Pugh is my go-to guy for recommendations,” Madden says. “His technical knowledge is excellent! He did the EASE modeling on the room and system, and then we both looked it over and confirmed that it was going to work just fine.”

Based on the room’s main floor dimensions, Madden and Jacquemain settled on a pair of QRx 212 compact dual 12-inch two-way loudspeakers as the mains, one on each side. “I was introduced to the QRx 212,” Madden says, “when I was working on a different church, where the pastor said he wanted to be able to present national gospel artists without having them bring in anything except their personal instruments. It’s become one of my favorite boxes, because it handles an immense amount of power, takes a tremendous beating, and it just plain sounds good. It’s great for audiences of five or six hundred people, so it was a good fit for Imani Temple Ministries.”

Madden adds that he especially likes the asymmetrical horn in the QRx line. “Its vertical dispersion is 50 degrees, but that’s 15 up and 35 down, so I don’t have to tip the boxes forward as much. That makes them easier to install, and looks better when they’re hung. We ordered the white ones to make it fit even better in this space.”

On the floor almost directly below each QRx 212 is a QRx 218S compact dual 18-inch subwoofer. “The QRx 218S are absolutely a wonderful sub,” Madden says. “They’re tight, and they really thump.” In the balcony, meanwhile, Madden placed a pair of ZX1 composite-enclosure 8-inch two-way loudspeakers, one on each side. “The ZX1 brings some articulation into the balcony,” he says. “It’s one of the reasons the intelligibility is so good up there.”

The ZX1 is powered by a CPS 2.6 MKII Contractor Precision Series amplifier, while the mains are bi-amped with a CPS 2.9 MKII and a CPS 2.12 MKII. A CP4000S Compact Precision Series amp is used for the subs. “The amps aren’t working hard,” Madden says. “They are all bigger than they technically need to be, but I call that headroom. To me one of the worst mistakes you can make is to under-power your system, and unfortunately that’s very common in installations. We’ve had this system up pretty loud, and because we put considerable power behind it we don’t lose any clarity.”

Madden says he chose the Electro-Voice amplifiers for “reliability and amount of power for the buck.” But he adds that he “likes doing matched systems, with everything EV from the processor on back. That way everything is designed to work together properly. The outputs of the processor are nicely matched to the inputs of the amps, which match well to the speakers.”

In this case the processor is Electro-Voice’s two in, six out DC-One. “Lately I’ve been using the DC-One on just about every job,” Madden says. “It’s a great way to get a system set up exactly how you need it. It gives me my EQ, graphic and parametric, my crossover, my compressor/limiter, an excellent speaker delay system, and you can set the output levels being sent to the amps; so it replaces a lot of equipment. And once I get the system dialed-in with the editor software, I can lock out the controls so the settings can’t be changed by someone playing around with the knobs.”

After the installation, Madden went to a couple of rehearsals to walk the church’s team through the operation of the system, and he also ran the opening-day service. “The congregation seems very pleased,” he says. “The intelligibility of the room is now excellent, and people are telling me that they can finally hear the choir, or understand what the pastor is saying. And because the church leadership understood that we were designing for the future, and were willing to spend what it took to get that done, they now have a system that they can really grow into.”  

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