Posted in projects on May 28, 2015 12:09 pm EDT

Case Study: 20th Century Church Turns Attention to Details of Sound

Built in the early 1980s, Central Church in Charlotte, N.C., seats 1,800 and is one of the original megachurches of the modern era. Here, details on the space's new sound reinforcement system.

Image courtesy of d&b audiotechnik.











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TAGS: architecture, design, historic, renovation, sound,


By Church Designer Staff

The sanctuary at Central Church in Charlotte, N.C., is a typical fan-shaped room with a balcony. “Yet when Don Kendrick, director of media services for the church first engaged us,” recalls Jerry Temple, founder of XLmediaworks Inc., “we were just asked to service some faulty stage wiring. Little did I suspect we would, in time, come to replace the sanctuary’s complete sound reinforcement system with a V-Series solution from d&b audiotechnik.

“The sanctuary is beautiful,” he adds, “right down to the ornate carving on the pews. To install a complete, new system in a room like that is, to say the least, a delicate operation.” Delicate or not, three jobs after that first rewire project, Kendrick opened the conversation with Temple about replacing the main audio system. “It was their attention to detail that interested me,” says Kendrick. “Before I first called Jerry they had done some work on an existing installation in one of our satellite churches. The person responsible for audio in that church had been talking to me about Jerry Temple for some time, saying how good his company, XLmediaworks was. That certainly proved to be the case; they did a beautiful job.”

"The sanctuary is beautiful, right down to the ornate carving on the pews. To install a complete, new system in a room like that is, to say the least, a delicate operation.”

—Jerry Temple, Founder, XLmediaworks Inc.

Demo and decisions

XLmediaworks was already an affiliated reseller for d&b systems, and by coincidence the d&b office was about to demonstrate its new V-Series at The Fox Theater in Atlanta. “When Jerry invited me to come and listen I was intrigued. I’d heard a lot about d&b and heard good things, but I’d never actually listened to one of their systems.” To moderate the listening experience Kendrick also elected to take an objective third party.

“I had called upon the expertise of Jim Brawley, of James Brawley and Associates, an old colleague of mine. Jim and I have history going way back, and although you might, in this context, fashion him a consultant, I do not believe in the conventional consultant role where a system solution is devised and then put out to tender. I rather decided to pair my preferred consultant with my preferred contractor and create a team that, together, would give me the proper design and proper installation. So we hired Jim to work directly for the church and paired him with the team at XLmedia so we would have the best shot at both the design and installation of the new sound system.

“The d&b demo was excellent,” continues Kendrick. “The Fox is not dissimilar to our church in terms of size, seating and acoustic. I was very impressed by the coverage and transparency of the system; but I still wanted to hear it live. Fortunately, MerleFest in upstate North Carolina was just the place, as one stage was using the V-Series. Set on a hillside, coverage was tricky; it would have been all too easy to overshoot part of the audience. But when I walked around, the coverage completely blew me away, top to bottom, and LF to HF, everything was right there. That helped me make my mind up. I’ve been in the business a long time now; I spent 10 years doing sound for TV and have made my own system designs for installations in the past, so I know the nuts and bolts of what is needed: I made my decision with a high degree of certainty.”  continued >>