Posted in projects on October 18, 2016 2:24 pm EDT

Smoky Mountain-Area Church Gains Stronger Sound

First Baptist Church in Sevierville, Tenn., undergoes major sound system upgrade to sustain a 2,000-seat sanctuary and three worship services: traditional, blended and contemporary.

Image courtesy of d&b audiotechnik.











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TAGS: audio, avl design, integration, troubleshooting,


By Church Designer Staff

With its roots embedded in the eighteenth century and the formation of the United States as an independent nation, the First Baptist Church (FBC) in Sevierville, Tenn., has thrived in the town since its inception. From log cabins through various incarnations, as the church has grown it has acquired larger buildings to accommodate its congregation as well as a large numbers of tourists that visit the nearby Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Scott Andrews, associate pastor of worship at FBC, says, “Our sound reinforcement system was 17 years old and definitely past its best. A system from d&b audiotechnik had been highly recommended, and we felt it would be ideal for our purposes.”

M&L Sound from neighboring Knoxville was the chosen installer. The company's long experience in worship venues reportedly made it an ideal choice. Sound Project Manager Joe Hamilton explains the process: “We were initially contacted by the church to look into replacing their mixing console. During the site visit we also discussed many other issues they were having -- one major one being the quality of the speaker system and lack of coverage. After attending a few finance meetings and a church-wide business meeting, we received a contract for the speaker upgrade as well as the mixing console. The reason for such a major system upgrade was the age of the original system, and growth, and what the church wanted to achieve with the audio system.”

"We plan to host more concerts and conferences in the future.... One of the added bonuses of choosing a d&b system is that it is so well known and trusted in the touring industry."

—Joe Hamilton, Sound Project Manager, First Baptist Church, Sevierville, TN

System design specifics

Hamilton went on to design the system along with some input from d&b audiotechnik U.S. and FBC Technical Services Director, Rich Mace. He opted for a primarily 10AL system with 27A-SUBs to support the low end, and a selection of loudspeakers from the xS-Series for fill and delay. “We had only done a few projects with d&b prior to this design but the audio quality and extensive installation line made it an obvious choice for this project. We opted for the install amplifiers, the 10Ds and 30Ds, as we’d used them once before and been impressed. The connectivity is perfect for installations,” Mace says.

“The loudspeaker system consists of four main speaker hangs that contain seven 10AL cabinets per hang. There is a main L/R hang and then a L/R fill for the side stadium seating," he continues. "The 8S boxes are placed along the front of the stage as frontfills while the 5Ss are deployed as under-balcony delays and the 10Ss are used for over-balcony delays and choir monitors. The subs are deployed in two hangs of three, partly to preserve the sightlines for the projection screen. They are located in between the main 10AL array and the fill 10AL array on each side. Cardioid 27A-SUBs were chosen to help keep energy off the stage.”

Hamilton worked closely with Mace. “Joe understood quite clearly our objectives and the challenges we needed to overcome. The capacity of the room is two thousand and we have three worship services: traditional, blended, and we also added a contemporary service during the installation. We plan to host more concerts and conferences in the future and one of the added bonuses of choosing a d&b system is that it is so well known and trusted in the touring industry. Despite the wider possibilities for the room it remains a house of worship and so the amplification of the choir and the spoken word were the primary considerations when we agreed the design.”

The size and shape of the balconies also required some creative thinking, as Hamilton explains: “The room is fan-shaped with padded pews for seating. There is stadium seating up each side with a large over-balcony and under-balcony area. Due to the amount of under-balcony seating, we used quite a large number of 5S loudspeakers to get sound to every seat. There is diffusion and acoustic treatment throughout the room, and the ceiling is a combination of drop down drywall soffits and acoustic ceiling tiles. These drywall soffits caused us to have to use over-balcony delays to get high frequencies to the top rows of the balcony. I have to say that acoustically the room is very well controlled, but not overly absorbent.”  continued >>