Located in suburban Virginia, Hylton Memorial Chapel is a nondenominational Christian events center. Within the stately brick edifice, pastors' conferences, ecumenical praise gatherings, and a variety of musical presentations are hosted by area churches as well as touring Christian artists and community groups. The rich diversity and the scale of its worship programs resulted in a permanent install of a M'elodieâ„¢ line array loudspeaker system, as well as a new MILO® line array loudspeaker system available for use as an event requires.
With this revamped in-house technology infrastructure, the 3,500-capacity sanctuary is now ready to handle everything from the electronic-rock sounds of the David Crowder Band to the soul-stirring gospel of Grammy Award-winning Donnie McClurkin, as well as the ever-popular VeggieTales tour.
According to Michael Viljoen, the chapel's technical director, the linearity of Meyer Sound equipment led to an effortless integration of the dual systems, which was a prime factor in adopting an all-Meyer Sound solution. “Compared to other manufacturers, Meyer Sound offers a larger inventory of boxes designed from the same standpoint, so mixing and matching between the two systems works very well,” Viljoen says. “Also, the MILOs are accepted on all touring riders without question.”
The design blueprints for the new systems were developed by Acoustic Dimensions of Dallas. Principal designers Ryan Knox and Brian Elwell worked closely with Hylton Chapel's Viljoen to ensure that the new systems would deliver uncompromising audio quality for all users, yet with minimum impact on the traditional interior aesthetics. Installation was handled by system integrator Washington Professional Systems of Wheaton, Md.
The upgrade for the permanent system was particularly challenging, primarily because all main loudspeakers had to fit into a soffit barely three feet high in order to maintain the traditional look of the interior. The solution was 24 M'elodie line array loudspeakers configured in seven clusters: three short-throw clusters of four each, and four long-throw clusters of three each. Delay systems comprise 10 UPM-1P loudspeakers for over-balcony coverage and 12 UPM-1P loudspeakers for the under-balcony seating. Powerful bass support comes from four 600-HP subwoofers.
For contemporary concerts requiring higher levels up to 130 dB SPL, Hylton Chapel can now offer its own in-house, rider-friendly system. Nine MILO line array loudspeakers per side are supplemented by eight 700-HP subwoofers and ten M1D loudspeakers as front fills. In this configuration, three of the M'elodie loudspeakers, and all the delay systems, blend seamlessly with the MILO arrays.
The MILO-based system was used for four major concerts in the first few weeks of operation following the upgrade. “The results were spectacular,” says Viljoen. “There's nothing that we've thrown at it—from a podium mic or solo acoustic piano up to rock band levels of 117 dB—that it hasn't been able to do.”
According to Greg Lukens, vice president of Washington Professional Systems, the resulting quality exceeded expectations. “Because this client had a total commitment to excellence, we didn't have to shave any corners,” Lukens remarks. “I'd have to say this is the best-sounding system we've built in our company history, and maybe even the best I've heard anywhere.”
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