Set among the first lands to be settled by European colonists, Alexandria First Presbyterian Church boasts a main sanctuary built in the late 1800s, and listed on the US National Registry of Historic Places. But despite being one of the area’s older buildings, the church is very modern inside – thanks to a sophisticated A/V system designed and installed by JD Sound & Video.
The system includes distributed HD video, with multiple screens throughout, as well as a sound system featuring Community Professional Loudspeakers’ Entasys column arrays and VLF Series subwoofers. ‘It’s not a large building, and it’s not very ornate,’ says JD Sound’s Joe DiSabatino. ‘But they’ve invested wisely with the technology they’ve installed.’
Typically, the interior of the sanctuary is highly reverberant, and achieving good spoken word intelligibility has long been a challenge: ‘It’s a large, boxy room with high ceilings, hard plaster walls, and lots of hard wood,’ says DiSabatino. ‘It sounds great for the choir, but not for the sermon.’
JD Sound recommended a pair of Community Entasys column loudspeakers to cover the entire space: ‘We set up a temporary system for them to use during a service, and they were immediately convinced,’ says DiSabatino.
The church services make good use of music, and DiSabatino recommended a pair of VLF208 subwoofers to fill out the frequency range: ‘We built the subs into the altar, underneath the stage,’ he says. ‘They provide just that little bit of extra low end and kick.’
The Entasys also addressed the church’s aesthetic concerns: ‘The columns are painted to match the walls, and are barely visible,’ says DiSabatino. Crown amplifiers power the system, and a Rane HAL system provides DSP and enables the church to make multi-channel recordings of their services, with an eye toward webcasting in the future.
The installation of the new system has allowed the church to repurpose its previous loudspeakers – a pair of Community CSX cabinets: ‘The kids have a gathering spot down in the basement, and the original system is still working fine, so it was perfect for that,’ says DiSabatino.
‘The Entasys system was the perfect solution,’ DiSabatino concludes. ‘Coverage is consistent to every seat, even under the balcony, and we’ve got far more gain before feedback. And they sound terrific.’