Lee University provides audible spiritual sustenance
Lee University in Cleveland Tennessee is experiencing growth in all aspects of life; expanded curricula, extended facilities' and of course a growing student body. With its foundations firmly rooted in the fertile soils of The Church of God denomination, one of the University's prime responsibilities towards its students is provision of spiritual sustenance. The Conn Center, completed in 1977 and gifted to the then nascent University by a local resident Charles W. Conn, hosts services Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, with a live Christian band every third Sunday in the month. But Conn Center serves many functions besides; an eighteen hundred-seat auditorium with raked stalls and ample balcony, it is busy almost every day of the year, as House Manager 'Josh' (Joshua) York explained.
"Lee achieved University status in 1997, but even before, as a college, it was founded as a liberal arts establishment. This hall serves many functions; symphonic concerts, string ensembles, chamber orchestras, we have six performing choirs that sing here; and we encourage the local High Schools to use it for their functions, be they concerts or prize givings." A busy schedule, so what are the challenges? York responded "The room has an acoustic problem; hard brick walls that are all parallel producing lots of flutter; the ceiling is not so bad, we have a kind of band shell angled reflector, but overall it's not good. Visiting bands never ever used our system; they always brought their own as intelligibility was very bad."
And the solution? "I met with Dr Maldon, our Dean of Student Life; he was instrumental in supporting my desire to purchase a new PA system, but more importantly he pointed me towards Ken George." Ken George of Pro Audio Group, a concert, touring and installation company based in nearby Chattanooga. "Ken recommended a small line array type system from d&b audiotechnik, a German loudspeaker system manufacturer. He arranged for myself and Dr Maldon to visit an installation he had already made at Faith Promise Church near Knoxville and we were easily convinced."
Ken George's Pro Audio Group installed a d&b Q-Series. "The simple stereo line array is small", said George. "The last thing this room needs is excess energy exciting the highly reverberant wall surfaces. Q1 boxes give a good, truthful, precisely defined coverage pattern; 75° horizontal is ideal for a relatively narrow rectangular concert hall like this. We put a Q10 at the bottom of each hang. Although not primarily intended as a down fill, this box covers 110° horizontally, meaning that, with a tight curve at the bottom of the array, we were able to provide perfect coverage onto the front rows."
The system was supplied to Pro Audio Group by d&b audiotechnik's Partner, Spectrum Sound, who are based in nearby Nashville, Tennessee. "Ken Porter who runs Spectrum is an old friend," said George. "He and I have worked together in pro audio since we were youngsters. It was he that first introduced me to the d&b range; all their systems sound very similar and all take musicality, pattern control and intelligibility as their prime functions. We used d&b's ArrayCalc," he explained. "The software provided a designed install curve model which proved perfect. There was really only one spot in the whole room we could not reach; a small sliver of seven seats down each side of the stalls at the front, but these were easily covered by the addition of a small fill loudspeaker." "It's nice to have something like this here for the students," York has a student volunteer technical team of thirty to help run the venue. "The d&b system is so easy to use, anyone can get a good sound."