Taipale Media Systems

Our Work

Blackhawk Church

Location: Madison, Wisconsin

TMS Scope: Room Acoustics, Mechanical Noise, Sound Isolation, Sound, Video, Theatrical Lighting.

Architect: Plunkett-Raysich Architects

Project: The project included a 900-seat auditorium, a 500-seat video venue located just across the hall, a large gymnasium, plus a large conference room and fireside room all on the second floor. The ground floor included two 200-seat auditoria for Youth and Single Adults ministries, the Children's Ministry rooms, several conference rooms / Sunday School rooms, and the church offices.

Fellow ChurchSoundcheck member Mark Wyse contacted me to ask if I knew of any AVL companies in Wisconsin that he could trust to take on the design of the AVL systems for a new construction project at Blackhawk Evangelical Free Church. Mark had recently accepted the position as Technical Director for the growing church, and he and his wife, Carolyn, were in the process of moving from Southern California to Madison, Wisconsin.

I offered up contact information for some companies in the region that I thought could handle the project, including a couple of well known companies right in their backyard. But ultimately the church invited us to take on the project.

And not a minute too soon. The architect was already in the Design Devlopment phase, and I had to work quickly to get caught up with the AVL system designs. (In fact, to their credit it was the Architect that was encouraging the church to get their AVL and acoustics consultant on board as soon as possible. Imagine that!?!)

To our delight, everyone at Plunkett-Raysich Architects was friendly and easy to work with. Ever the encourager, project manager Paul Schmidt "had our back" on numerous occasions, like in the meetings where I hadn't been invited to, but a topic within my design scope happened to come up. Paul stood his ground to ensure that our voice was heard on the matter. Paul is very much a "Type A" person, who would send us an email and then call us to tell us he had sent us an email about some important question that needed to be resolved. Great team that I thoroughly enjoyed working with.

I enlisted the help of fellow consultant Dale Alexander and CAD monster Gary Stout to help me get the details and the drawings delivered on time. Neil Thompson Shade from Acoustical Design Collaborative came alongside me to design the room acoustics and do the mechanical noise and sound isolation studies. Early on in the process I overlaid the first and second floor drawings from the architect, and realized that the downstage center of the platform in the main auditorium would be directly above one of the Children's Ministry rooms on the ground floor. My usual preference is to embed the subwoofers into the front edge of the platform, but Neil's calculations confirmed that the kids in that room below the platform would experience roughly 80 dB SPL of subwoofer energy whenever their respective schedules lined up. So we determined that flying the subs both in the main auditorium and in their video venue were mission critical. Dale Shirk at Shirk Audio in Pennsylvania engaged his remarkable experience in designing subwoofer arrays, and created a cardioid-dipole arrangement of the Danley TH-115 subwoofers to make it work.

Their first service took place on November 4, 2007. During the first two services, their 900-seat main auditorium was filled (with extra chairs added), their 500-seat video venue was filled (with extra chairs added), and the gym system was filled as well. Reports were that cars were lined up on the highway for over a mile waiting to get into the parking lot. The third service was filled to capacity. What a great start!

      Worship Center Equipment
        • Main Loudspeakers: Danley, Bose & Renkus-Heinz
        • Subwoofers: Danley Subs Flown in a Cardioid-Dipole Array
        • Floor Monitors: Renkus-Heinz
        • DSP: BSS London & Rane
        • Power Amps: LAB.gruppen & Crown
        • Video Projection: Sanyo & Da-Lite
        • Video Switching: TV One & Kramer
        • Lighting: ETC dimming, control & fixtures

The church's location would be a dream for any church technical director. Mark is in the unique position of having the main manufacturing headquarters for ETC lighting just two miles to his north, and the new warehouse for Full Compass literally just across the highway from the church. How cool is that!?!