Founded in 1850 by German immigrants, St. Joseph Fullerton is a Roman Catholic church located just north of Baltimore in Perry Hall, Maryland. St. Joseph’s current building, an octagonal structure with around-the-sanctuary seating, and imaginative décor has impressed parishioners and visitors for more than 40 years.
St. Joseph’s original sound system used ceiling loudspeakers to cover the sanctuary and had been augmented with loudspeakers in the organ chamber. However, coverage was uneven in many locations and very poor in the back of the church.
Through a referral from another church, St. Joseph’s contacted Mike Flaherty of Nelson White Systems in Baltimore. Flaherty recommended a system based on Community’s Entasys column line arrays. He had used Entasys in other church sound systems and knew they would provide smooth coverage throughout the sanctuary and project sound evenly all the way to the rear while minimizing unwanted reflections from the ceiling and floor.
Flaherty chose left and right double-stacked Entasys to cover the central areas of the sanctuary supplemented by a pair of single Entasys to cover the far left and right. He added two Community VLF212 Subwoofers to supplement the system’s low-frequency performance for the church’s weekly contemporary mass. And, he chose Community’s dSPEC Networked Loudspeaker Processor to provide system equalization.
Since Flaherty had not used Entasys in a semi-circular sanctuary like St. Joseph’s, he asked Community’s Technical Applications Group to review his design. Community’s analysis showed that the design would achieve its goals of even coverage and uniform sound levels throughout the church.
Completed in late spring of 2013, St. Joseph’s new sound system includes Crown amplifiers and a Shure automatic mixer so that operation can be “hands off” for most services. For the weekly contemporary mass, Flaherty provided a special dSPEC input with a compressor section to manage the level. Musical groups can connect their own mixers to this input.
At the church’s request, Community custom-painted the Entasys columns to a color chosen to complement the carpet and trim. Flaherty says the church is very pleased with the results. “They’ve gotten nothing but complements about the appearance and the sound,” he said. “Those people who were sitting in the dead spots from the old system can finally hear everything.” Flaherty was also impressed with the musicality of the system. “The spoken word clarity is excellent,” he said, “and the subs add a pleasing low-frequency warmth to the contemporary service.”
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