Richwoods Christian Church was founded in the late 1990s by pastor Jim Powell in Peoria, Illinois. Its congregation was initially small, a scant sixty-five people, but those congregants were motivated to grow the church. They succeeded, and today Richwoods Christian Church brings 1,400 people together every weekend, spread across four services at two locations. The larger location built its current sanctuary in a former high-end furniture store, where, despite low ceiling height, local A/V integration firm Advanced Audio and Lighting gave the church a highly-intelligible and musical sound reinforcement system based on Danley Sound Labs SH-50 full-range loudspeakers and TH-115 subwoofers. Not wanting to compromise at the satellite location, Richwoods Christian Church asked for Danley again. There, a collapsible system of self-powered Danley SH-96 loudspeakers and TH-118 subwoofers meets that goal.
“Everyone we worked with at Richwoods had a clear vision of what they wanted to achieve without getting overly involved in the nuts and bolts of how it would be achieved,” said Trent Keeling, vice president at Advanced Audio and Lighting. “Quality audio was high on their priority list. They wanted a system that would deliver their very contemporary praise and worship style with authority. Because there’s a lot of musical talent in the church, they needed something that would serve everything from orchestral music to a five-piece rock band, on top of having excellent intelligibility.”
While the church’s new location in a former furniture store would serve it well in terms of location and accessibility, it was not ideal for sound reinforcement. There was only a nineteen-foot distance between the floor and the low steel, which was compressed even further by a modest stage and drop ceiling. “That’s not a standard hang height,” laughed Keeling. “One of Richwoods’ signature programs is its Christmas pageant, which involves, at various points, up to thirty children running around stage with open omnidirectional lavalier mics. If we could place the PA twenty-five feet up and twenty-five feet forward, then just about any loudspeaker could pull that off. But here we were going to be right above the stage, sixteen feet up. That’s where you separate the men from the boys.”
Keeling’s solution was to cover the room with four Danley SH-50 full-range loudspeakers, two close-packed on each side of the stage. “Danley’s Synergy Horn loudspeakers, like the flagship SH-50, have excellent phase coherency and precise pattern control down to 350Hz and lower,” he said. “Because of that pattern control, the SH-50s can be right above the stage without collapsing into feedback. In addition, the fact that the SH-50 is a three-way enclosure gives Richwoods great vocal intelligibility.” Two flown Danley TH-115 subwoofers provide low-end support. The system is nominally stereo, but because the six hundred-plus seat room is so wide, the techs are “discouraged from doing any hard panning,” in Keeling’s words. Biamp Audia provides modest processing, Lab.gruppen amplifiers power the system, the FOH desk is a Yamaha M7, and Shure microphones provide input.
The church was so pleased with the quality of its Danley sound reinforcement system that it motivated the approach they took to designing a satellite location, Richwoods East. “They recognized that the quality of their services was an important component of Richwoods’ success,” said Keeling. “They wanted the satellite to live up to the quality of the ‘Mother Ship’.” The 500-member congregation of Richwoods East meets at an Embassy Suites ballroom using a portable, plug-and-play system. Keeling maintained the ‘Mother Ship’s’ quality by designing a ground-supported system of two self-powered Danley SH-96s and two self-powered Danley TH-115 subwoofers.