Taylor Chapel’s history is that of Fort Wayne, Indiana, itself, dating back to 1865, barely 25 years after the city had been incorporated. Then, on December 31, 2012, a catastrophic fire reduced the main sanctuary to ashes. But with the resilience of its pioneering forebears, Taylor Chapel came back, better — and better sounding — than ever. That was thanks in part to the implementation of a RoomMatch® array loudspeaker system from Bose Professional. The system, which consists of two RoomMatch RM9040 modules, one RM9020 module, one RM12040 module and an RMS215 bass module, all powered by Bose PowerMatch® PM8500N and PM4500N networked amplifiers, was installed by locally based audio/video/lighting systems integrators Custom Sound Designs.
“This is a structure that needed a very specific sound solution for its requirements,” says Adam Henderson, Operations Manager for Custom Sound Designs. Henderson says the church had an astonishingly sage reaction to the fire, seeing it as a disaster but also an opportunity. “It was a chance to create a new, state-of-the-art facility, and they took it,” he says.
Custom Sound Designs spent the better part of a year working closely with the church leaders and the architect as the sanctuary was rebuilt. Key to the success of the project was the Bose RoomMatch system. Aside from its sonic superiority, Henderson says the sanctuary’s asymmetric architecture called for capabilities that only RoomMatch® could provide. “The baptistery is set very far stage right and that creates a slight asymmetry, while part of the rear wall is all glass, where we couldn’t place acoustical materials,” he explains. “Plus, it’s a fan-shaped seating area that’s not very deep. It’s a difficult situation in which to try to get good coverage while keeping the energy off of reflective surfaces.”
After measuring the space and consulting with Bose engineers, Custom Sound Designs assembled an L-C-R array consisting of two RM9040 modules stacked atop each other in the center, one RM9020 module on the right and one RM12040 module on the left, with an RMS215 bass module flown behind the center cluster, all powered by Bose PowerMatch PM8500N and PM4500N networked amplifiers and controlled using a Bose ControlSpace® ESP-880 processor. “What’s really great is that we achieved the coverage we needed in an uneven space and didn’t need any custom speaker cabinet solutions, which really helps with the aesthetics for a legacy building like this,” he says. “Plus, since RoomMatch modules are preset with the exact dispersion characteristics we needed, there was no waiting for custom solutions to be fabricated, and that meant a cost savings, as well.”
Pastor Conner says the congregation was “extremely pleased” with how the project turned out. “We’ve been getting raves about the system, how it sounds for music and for speech,” he says. “And our volunteers like how they don’t have to push the system hard to get the volume they need for services. We have a blended type of worship here — some traditional elements mixed with more contemporary ones — and the sound system is handling all of it marvelously. Our choir is especially happy with how it turned out. In fact, it’s really turned music into a much more important cog in our worship wheel.”
The pastor notes how grateful he is that attention to acoustics and sound engineering were in the forethought of this project and not a last-minute concern. “The result has been a resource that has greatly enhanced our total worship experience,” he remarks. “The system overall also has allowed for many options as our church grows, for continuing to develop and expand our ministry. We have yet to reach the system’s true potential. Because of the planning and vision that went into this system from the beginning, it’s a tool that brings our community and the message together.”