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New speakers for a Church
Right now there is a pair of JBL control 25s powered from a 150W per Chanel amp of dubious provenance. (I.e. not a brand I've heard of so those watts might be optimistic) and frankly it's barely ok for spoken voice but little else. There are a couple of little 8 inch cabs halfway back which were installed years ago - not by me - to fill the side isle areas, but I keep those off, because they just muddy everything up.
The building has seating for around 200 and is around 20m back to front (not including the organ and choir area at the front) and 12m across with a barrel roof rising to around 11m. The 2 side isles I mentioned have lower flat ceilings around 5m high which are both 3m x 12m
Want something that will comfortably manage speech, sung vocals, acoustic guitars and a stage piano, to a reasonable level (not rock concert levels ) ideally I'd like actives, and I'd like them to be flown - don't want the intrusive look of stands.
Budget? It's a Church, and obviously money is in short supply, so lets say under a grand... The further under the better!
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You're quite right to be looking to upgrade at least elements of your system. The JBL 'Control' series are good speakers for what they're designed for, but they are quite inefficient and need a respectably-powered amplifier behind them to make them perform adequately. That said, you might want to consider them as side-fills for use in the side seating.
Your biggest problem if considering putting in something for music amplification is going to be stopping sound getting up into the roof space and coming back as a horrible boom in the 300Hz-450Hz range. My first suggestion would be some form of line-array/column-set to avoid too much vertical dispersion. This could be incorporated with modest sub-woofers if you really want to get some power-bass into the room. Personally I'd say if your columns are of sufficient quality then that would be an unnecessary complication - you want something for worship-leading not concert performances.
If you don't want to go the column route then I'd suggest 8" or 10" units at about 2.5 metres definitely angled down into the congregation. That will help keep the sound out of the roof. You might also consider a second pair farther back with suitable delay to retain clarity. That way no one speaker or pair is pumping out too much energy to excite the air in the roof-space. In a similar vein you can utilise the Control 25s as feeds to the side.
If it's a CoE church then you'll need a faculty before changing anything. You'll need to be careful about size, shape and colour of speakers not to detract from the architecture of the building and to ensure you get faculty approval. With decent amps that's why I quite like Control 28s in sensitive areas. The white ones can be painted to blend in and their silver grilles are also not too obtrusive. You can get surprising level and quality from them for work in this type of context. If you go for actives, try and get those with Class D amps; lighter and thus easier to fasten to pillars/walls.
Sadly, I have to advise caution when dealing with some of the specialist 'Church Sound' companies. Some are closely linked with specific manufacturers and naturally will always use that manufacturers' products. Similarly, their expertise in dealing with 'difficult' rooms - like many churches! - is not always what it might be.
Drop me a PM if you want to discuss further. I work for churches on an expenses-only basis so there's no commercial stuff in play here.
- Mike Stranks
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