One of the most sensitive forms of AV installation is in historic churches, where the infrastructure for modern systems simply does not exist and in many cases cannot be installed due to preservation requirements. Located outside of Miami, Coral Gables Congregational Church is one such structure. Built in 1923 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, this United Church of Christ house of worship has been listed on the US National Register of Historic Places since 1978.
When the church decided to upgrade its audio and video systems, it recognized the challenges and brought Dave Armstrong and sound planning consult on the project. Based in Ft. Lauderdale, Sound Planning has a proven track record of working with historic places of worship.
“This congregation has a real commitment to music, which they made clear when we first met,” Armstrong notes. “As soon as I saw the Bösendorfer grand piano in the sanctuary, I knew they were serious and that the Electro-Voice EVA line-array system would be a perfect candidate for the main PA.”
A must-have EV solution for house of worship audio, EVA (Expandable Vertical Array) offers all the benefits of concert-style line arrays without the cost and complexity. Each EVA module includes two array elements with a total of two 8″ woofers and four 1.25″ compression drivers mounted on Hydra waveform converters, reducing overall array size. The compact EVA design also minimizes visual distraction, with clean lines and no visible rigging hardware. EVA modules are available in four fixed-angle configurations that can be combined in any order for precise, even coverage. EVA’s extraordinarily efficient crossover and driver design allows two full-size arrays to be powered by a single amplifier, further increasing cost and space savings. EVA has long been known for delivering balanced, musical sound without any external DSP except room EQ. Additionally, Electro-Voice recently released EVA speaker tunings for Dynacord amplifiers that provide improved performance through multi-level speaker protection and slightly tuned midrange response. These settings are available for full-range loudspeakers and for EVA subwoofers.
Once the church finalized its direction, Sound Planning was among the companies invited to bid. Using design data directly from Electro-Voice, they proposed a single EVA array to cover the entire congregational seating area, which includes a balcony. “It’s not a huge space, so all we needed was a centrally-suspended three-box EVA array—the equivalent of a conventional six-box system,” Armstrong notes. “We installed it among the exposed beams of the ceiling, with the lowest point 21 feet above the floor. The beams are dark wood, so the black cabinets and wiring hide nicely up there. There was no objection to aesthetics.
The matrix includes three EVA-2082S elements with a gradual dispersion approach. For the long reach to the balcony, the top box has a tight 90° x 6° coverage pattern. The middle cabinet covers the back of the room with its 90° x 20° pattern, while the bottom module uses a 120° x 20° spread to address the front benches. This covers the entire space evenly, with no front, bottom or side fill required. For contemporary music presentations, a rolling cart with a self-powered Electro-Voice EKX-15SP subwoofer is available for additional bass support.
“The historic architecture remains unchanged, the EVA system looks and sounds fantastic, and the people of Coral Gables Congregational Church are thrilled,” adds Armstrong.