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ENTASYS Helps Bring Modern Technology to Historic Church

The rolling hills and fertile farmlands along the Delaware River were among the first to be settled by European colonists, and the area is rich in historic buildings and landmarks. Among them is Alexandria First Presbyterian Church, whose main sanctuary was built in the late 1800s, and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Despite being one of the older buildings in the area, Alexandria First Presbyterian is all modern on the inside, thanks to a sophisticated audio and video system designed and installed by Blackwood, NJ-based JD Sound and 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.”

As DiSabatino explains, the building’s old stone walls and hard surfaces make for a highly reflective acoustical environment, 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 uses quite a bit of music in their program, 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 amps 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 church’s previous system, a pair of Community CSX loudspeakers, has been repurposed. “The kids have a gathering spot down in the basement, and the original Community 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.”

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