St James Anglican


Original Work Installed in 1984 and Revisited 23 years later!
Original Placement of the speaker system.  The speaker was on chains, above the beams and the speakers was upside down. Church seating Capacity 550.  Location: Orillia, Ontario, Canada.

In every Soundman career, there are a number of projects that are special.  For me this is one of them.  When I was hired for this project in 1984, one of the church board members told me an interesting story.  He said that the church was about to start an expensive renovation to meet the new fire codes.  The upgrades were going to cost over $160,000.  He said they were having trouble raising the money needed for this adventure.  The church board had decided to install a new sound system first which would allow the church members to clearly understand the request for fund raising.  Never before had a church put a sound system ahead of an extensive renovation.  From what I have understood about this project, this bold move paid off in many ways.

One of the interesting details I was told is that this church raise so much money above and beyond what was needed for the renovation that they were able to afford the installation of a new handicap elevator.  A church member said something to the effect that the sound system paid for a free elevator.

This is a photograph scan in from 1984 of the finished installation.

This is a set of photos I took September 12, 2007.  After 23 years the front of the church looks about the same.

Tucked away in a corner is s drum kit and other band items. Every Sunday the praise and worship team sets up for a contemporary worship program.  The acoustics in this church are good enough that they do not need to drum shield.

Mounting in it's proper position, after 24 years this speaker is still doing a great job providing the church member the sound that is needed for all of their worship needs.

In case you are wondering, that is a Tannoy P100 dual concentric speaker.  The grill cloth seems to be stained slightly by the air movement for the ceiling fan just a foot above the speaker.  It was requested for the ceiling fan to be raise higher but the church members have not complained about it.  The ceiling fan can be raise up or down from the church attic.

When the original installation was done, a smaller, more modest mixer desk was installed.  A church member who was a recording engineer built a new mixer desk for his 24 channel mixer.  Since then that church member moved and took the 24 channel mixer with him.

The original mixer was an 12 channel Electo-voice mixer that was discontinued in the early 90's.  Today a Soundcraft 16 channel mixer controls the sound system.  The sound system is stable enough that often no one runs the mixer when only a few microphones are needed.  Whoever set this mixer up did something I had never seen done before.  He change the knobs to color code key microphones.  What a great idea!

About the only main change was that the church removed the carpet between front row of pews and the stage.  Removed the carpet on the steps and replaced the rest of the carpets around the sanctuary.

If  this sound system was designed around technology, it would have been replaced long ago.  Instead this system was designed around performance.  Sound System designed around performance are forever but systems designed around technology are destined to failure.  Yes, a new digital mixer or a new processor instead of equalizer would make operating the sound system better but it will not make the sound system perform better.  You could upgrade the speaker for something sonically superior but a sonically superior speaker will not make the sound system perform better.

If your church is looking to improve the acoustics and/or sound system, don't get blind sided with technology until you get the performance requirements nailed down first.

Thank you.

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