The K-array KP102 line array elements were mounted at the proscenium line at the front of the sanctuary.
The First United Methodist Church (First Church), a landmark of downtown Dallas for over 165 years, has recently replaced its sound reinforcement system with K-array Installation Series components including: (10) custom color KP102 line array elements, (2) KK52 line array elements, (2) KMT18P passive subwoofers, (4) KA40 amplifiers and (12) custom color K-array KT22 Tornado 2-inch point source compact speakers. The new system was designed by Dallas-based Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams, Inc. (WJHW) and installed by Electro Acoustics, Inc. of Fort Worth. With a rich music program, congregational activities and two worship services each Sunday for roughly 1,000 congregants, First Church sought to replace its existing sound system with a more current, innovative solution that could deliver greater intelligibility but not obstruct the church’s architectural design.
Jim Burdette of WJHW handled the overall project design, which had to be sensitive to both the architectural and acoustic requirements of the interior structure.
"This was a large, high ceiling space with challenging acoustics. The existing cluster was quite a ways up and was not able to deliver the pattern control or throw that we can now achieve with modern technology. So we looked at options and eventually decided on K-array."
Jim Burdette of WJHW
K-array KT22 Tornado 2-inch point source compact speakers were placed underneath the balcony, providing enhanced audio intelligibility.
Since First Church is a historic and an architecturally ornate structure, getting the aesthetics just right was of paramount importance as was the overall sound quality.
"Part of the criteria and design directive was to move towards a low-profile column array like the K-array. We also wanted to have greater control over the sound dispersion while reducing any gain before feedback issues."
Burdette arranged to have the K-array KP102 line arrays brought in for a scaled demo at the church.
"In use, we just loved the concept — the performance to size ratio was very impressive."
Chris Jordan, president of Electro Acoustics.
The installation itself involved a split array of the KP102s: an upper module consisting of three units, and a lower module of one unit. They were mounted at the proscenium line on the front face of the wall, with the lower array positioned approximately 6′ off the main floor directed at the main floor, and the upper array positioned approximately 21′ off the main floor and pointed towards the church’s balcony.
"The precision of the KP102s afforded us the ability to throw deep into the room while staying close to structure and unobtrusive. As well, we were able to position the speakers so they could disappear among the moldings."
The K-array system was unobtrusive to the overall aesthetics and architectural splendor of FUMC.
In addition to the primary line array speakers for the main seating areas, Burdette also specified (12) KT22 point source compact speakers to reinforce audio directly beneath the balcony.
"There were some old conventional style speakers there that they were going to reuse, but I recommended switching to the K-arrays because it was much less visually intrusive. From an audio perspective, this increases intelligibility for congregants seated under the balcony."
In the choir loft, a pair of K-array KK52 line array speakers was mounted.
"The choir wanted a little more presence and even coverage. That made it perfect, and now the choir members could not be more delighted."
The overall system was rounded out with a pair of K-array KMT18P ultra-light subwoofers, which were mounted into existing soffits within the structure.
"The client didn’t want us to cut into any of the existing structure, so we found old speaker cutouts in the proscenium walls. We opened these back up, put grille cloth in front of them and mounted them. This turned out really well for the architecture."
Since completing the installation, feedback has been resoundingly favorable among the congregation.
"The church likes how the new loudspeaker system is performing. Both speech intelligibility and music clarity have increased, and the K-array solution played an integral role in achieving this."