WYTHEVILLE, Va. Once serving as an old cinema - the Milwald Theater, having first opened its doors on August 28, 1928 - the landmark space now serves as Crosswalk Church offering a unique atmosphere in the southwest corner of Virginia.
Serving as a worship space the last 13 years, the church is located right off I-81, and about four months ago in August, the church underwent a significant sound system upgrade. The changes included the installation of a line array speaker and subwoofers from WorxAudio.
Spearheading the installation work was Jason Nipper, President of Nipper Sound, based in Draper, Virginia. As explained by Nipper, "It took me less than 60 days to evaluate what I needed (for the project), to experiment with different locations, and to find a way to secure (the line array speaker), without impacting the building." The work itself onsite, according to Crosswalk Pastor Robbie Patton took less than a week.
‘We wanted something that would simplify the system that we had.’
While the church previously had full stereo system, with four speakers, the major concern, noted Nipper was "about the coverage," or lack thereof. By going to the WorxAudio line array, while having fewer "boxes," Nipper acknowledged that with the change, he sought "a more consistent solution for every seat and a more intelligible solution for the spoken Word." How that was achieved in part by the WorxAudio line array's 160 degrees of horizontal dispersion.
For Patton, having Nipper on this project was nothing new, in that the church has worked with him on a number of other projects over the years, noting that the church originally had equipment that "started off very low end, and we have upgraded consistently" over the years.
In opting to make the change to the church's sound system, Patton explained, "We wanted something that would simplify the system that we had. We didn't want a ton of speakers, to where we're filling that theater with one main speaker at this point."
In addition to the TrueLine X2 compact line array, which features four 8-inch low-frequency drivers and two medium format 1-inch exit compression drivers, the church also added a pair of TL218SS subwoofers in its worship space, with each unit including a pair of 18-inch woofers, along with upgrading to a ProSonus sound board, allowing for its staff to make adjustments from elsewhere besides the FOH position, with the help of an iPad.
"They have given us a different level of control, as the room had some bass bubbles in it," noted Patton. "(The added subwoofers) sound exactly right for that space. We wanted something without the feedback or other issues, and it has done that. The sound is much more natural, to where we can get a more natural sounding mix."
For Nipper, his introduction to WorxAudio was somewhat recent, at the InfoComm 2016 conference in Las Vegas between June 8-10. An onsite live demo at the convention center, Nipper noted, had him think, "I'm tired of standard digital content, and I wanted to hear live content. They had a live band, with someone from American Idol, with great vocals." Among the aspects that really stood out for Nipper was the speaker's stereo imaging, adding "I was able to get good imaging from one box."
After listening to that demo, he was so impressed by the WorxAudio gear that he immediately changed his speaker manufacturer choice for one of his upcoming projects.
"Upon the time I left there, (he called his contact for one of the projects and they said) If you think it's better, go with it.'"
At first, it might seem that such a move would be the wrong one based on previous experience, he admitted, but once the change was made, Nipper said, "people (at Crosswalk) who don't know anything about sound have said, What happened?' We went from having four clusters of speakers. People will say at first that this won't work, but it's almost night and day."
Among the other aspects that sold Nipper on WorxAudio was that their Greensboro, N.C. headquarters was in relative proximity to his office in Virginia - about a two-hour drive, along with the company providing a depth of information in the form of graphs to detail the specs for their speakers, which he found particularly valuable, since you "can just hand that to the customer."
For a building more than 80 years old, installing the new equipment to Nipper has worked out well for the church.
"It kind of shows how you can put technology in a building, and still keep the uniqueness of a building," said Nipper. "The line arrays are completely adjustable, to where you can bring it down for cosmetic purposes, and down to different levels."