Meyer strikes right notes in Paradise Valley
Monday, 1 February 2021
valleypresbyterian1Valley Presbyterian Church in Paradise Valley, Arizona
USA - When Valley Presbyterian Church in Paradise Valley, Arizona decided to renovate its 50-year-old sanctuary, a principal goal was to hold both traditional and contemporary worship services in this one space - but without compromising the music programme for either. At the same time, the church wanted to enhance the acoustical flexibility of the 600-seat sanctuary in order to host a range of special concerts and even classical music recording sessions
“We have a very spacious campus, with our sanctuary for traditional worship at one end and a multi-purpose space where we held contemporary services at the other end,” explains Russ Henzel, who served for 15 years as the church’s volunteer AV technician. “Because of the distance between, we had a split congregation with little interaction between the two groups during social hour. Our goal was to bring the contemporary service into the sanctuary, with socializing in a common space, but we knew its reverberant acoustics would be a major problem.”
This goal was in the brief handed to Jones Studio in Tempe, the project architects, and they enlisted the services of acoustical and media systems consulting firm McKay Conant Hoover (MCH). The MCH team comprised principal in charge David Conant, who oversaw the project, with Taylor Blaine as project manager for acoustics. Randy Willis and the late Kyle Ridenour shared responsibilities for the media systems.
Realizing the desire to significantly alter the acoustical characteristics for both amplified and unamplified music enhancement, as well as the need to instantly switch to a relatively dry acoustic for improved speech intelligibility, the solution recommended by MCH was electroacoustic enhancement.
“The church leaders liked the idea in principle, but like many who are unfamiliar with the technology, some were skeptical,” admits Conant. “We recommended that they get in touch with Meyer Sound and visit one of the existing Constellation church systems. A delegation led by their minister of music, Jennifer Hamm, listened to Constellation at Laguna Presbyterian in Southern California, and I’m told Ms. Hamm was absolutely delighted with what she heard.”
Aware of the church’s high standards, Conant recommended Constellation as the preferred solution. “Constellation is our go-to system,” he says. “We have a very high comfort level with the technical performance of the system as well as admiration and respect for everybody on the Meyer Sound team. We had listened to other systems and I can say we were underwhelmed by them.”
To create the desired reverberation characteristics, the Constellation system utilises 97 MM‑4XP miniature surface mount loudspeakers and 11 Ashby‑5C flush mount loudspeakers suspended overhead and affixed on the side walls, as well as around the choir area. Low frequency extension of the reverberation envelope - critical for the church’s renovated pipe organ - is furnished by 16 MM‑10XP miniature subwoofers. All loudspeakers are self-powered.
Ambient room sound is captured by 28 miniature cardioid microphones, and the eight-module D‑Mitri Digital Audio Platform includes two D-VRAS processors for hosting the patented VRAS reverberation algorithm. The Constellation system was installed to Meyer Sound’s specification by Clearwing Systems Integration of Phoenix.
In addition to music enhancement, Constellation in conjunction with acoustical treatments has improved speech intelligibility. With Constellation off or on a very short setting, the congregation hears only direct sound without destructive reflections.
Constellation can be easily operated by volunteers by selecting fixed presets from a touchscreen, yet the system architecture also allow custom tweaking of parameters.

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