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New Sound for New Life's New Building
Members of the fast-growing New Life Evangelical Free Church in Aurora, Colorado, recently celebrated the dedication of their spacious new 8,000 sq. ft. worship facility. Constructed adjacent to the existing church building, the new addition more than doubled maximum occupancy for worship (up to about 600 depending on seating configuration) and added numerous amenities, including new audio and video and lighting systems. To ensure the highest audio quality for both Sunday worship and music-oriented activities throughout the week, the church development committee called in some local expertise to review the initial sound system design proposals.
"We were asked by the church to look over what an out-of-town company had suggested," says Jeff Grinstead of Context Engineering of Centennial, Colo. "We concluded that there were no real problems with the proposed system, but on the other hand there was nothing exceptional about it. Also, the cost was quite high. So we suggested looking into installation of a system from Meyer Sound instead."
Grinstead consulted with his partner, certified SIM engineer Art Phillips, and the two drafted an alternative based on Meyer Sound CQ-2 Narrow Coverage Main loudspeakers. After reviewing the two alternatives, the church's Development Committee gave Grinstead and Phillips the green light to proceed.
"The church has a very capable technical staff, and they assisted us on many of the details of the installation," notes Grinstead. "Also, from an installation standpoint it was a very, very simple matter. With the Meyer loudspeakers, we didn't have to run lines back to a backstage amp rack, then run speaker lines overhead. That cut a few days off our installation time."
As installed, the new system comprises a main cluster of four CQ-2s augmented by a single UPM-2P Ultra-Compact Narrow Coverage loudspeaker delay mounted at the rear of the room and aimed to cover the elevated sound mixing booth.
According to Grinstead, the system is configured to allow discrete feeds to each of the four Meyer loudspeakers in the main cluster. The mix from the console, in mono or stereo, is fed to a distribution amplifier and then into separate digital EQ/delay processors. "Even though it's a single cluster, we can split the feeds to alternate loudspeakers for a left-right-left-right stereo effect, " he says. "Also, all loudspeakers are delayed to a virtual point source located near the middle of the stage."
After only a few weeks of use, the new system has received excellent responses for its performance in both Sunday worship and for special events.
"The intelligibility on the system is very high," claims Grinstead. "Speech intelligibility and clarity of vocals in music applications are what really sold us on the Meyer system. It is significantly better than most conventionally powered systems I've heard."
The church's Sunday services are a "blended" style, with traditional hymns and gospel songs mixed with more upbeat, contemporary praise music—all at moderate dB levels. But only a few weeks after installation, the system was called on to handle a five-piece Christian rock band ready to crank up the volume. "So far it's handled everything they've thrown at it," Grinstead states, "and everybody is very pleased with the results."
Phillips attended the youth concert and also found that the CQ-2s handled elevated volume levels with ease. "The sound was right at 100dB back at the sound booth. The CQs really came alive at that level. I was thrilled, and so was everybody else. We received a number of comments on just how good it sounded.
The system at New Life was Context Engineering's first Meyer Sound installation, but Jeff Grinstead sees more on the way in the near future. "We expect to use this as a showcase facility," he says, "and demonstrate to other churches in the area why they should go the Meyer route. This is our first experience with Meyer, and I'm very pleased with the level of responsiveness from the company and the support for the project in the field. The proved they were willing to work with us all along the way."