Located in the heart of Acadiana in Lafayette, Louisiana, The Bayou Church is a contemporary Christian house of worship. Regional production company and system integrator Gulf Coast Sound was among the companies the church consulted when exploring options for upgrading the sound system in their 600-seat sanctuary.
Larry Habetz, owner and CEO of Gulf Coast Sound and a lifelong resident of the area, was excited to be bidding on the job. “I knew some of the audio and IT guys at The Bayou Church, so it was really more of a consultation and mutual learning experience for all of us,” he says. “I was impressed with their sincere desire to make good decisions, and we developed a great relationship over our time working together. They were asking all the right questions, so I was happy to arrange a demo of the product we felt was the best fit.”
For precise coverage of the sanctuary’s rectangular shape, Habetz designed a demo system based on Electro-Voice XLD line arrays supported by Xsub subwoofers, all straight from Gulf Coast Sound’s rental stock. The system made a big impression on worship pastor Ed Gore and his team.
“We did multiple product demos, and the EV system really stood out,” says Gore. “Of all the systems we tried, this one just sounded best in the room. Other systems we heard could only achieve the enveloping experience we wanted at higher volumes. The EV system felt much more rich and present at any volume. It just felt right in our sanctuary.”
Larry Habetz was unsurprised at the outcome. “I knew the XLD system would be a great fit for the room, and the church team was extremely impressed with it right out of the box,” he says. “Once we got it tuned and time-aligned, it was incredible. What I really loved was the fact that the EV system was clearly preferred over another, much more expensive system that the church demoed.”
With an EV solution given the go ahead, Gulf Coast Sound designed a networked system consisting of twin hangs of eight XLD281 loudspeaker arrays, all with 120-degree dispersion. A pair of EVC-1082 front fills on the stage lip cover the center-front seats. Low frequency reinforcement was upgraded to EV’s acclaimed X-Line Advance dual-18” subwoofers, with six X12-128 units deployed together in front of the stage. Network control for the system is provided via the Electro-Voice N8000 NetMax digital matrix controller.
Another upgrade from the original demo system was via six C3600 amplifiers from EV’s sibling brand Dynacord, a new model that was launched to market during the design process. The C series offers high-end features not previously available on install amps at their price point, including advanced FIR-Drive to optimize system performance; sophisticated protection circuitry to ensure safe, reliable operation under all conditions; and an efficient standby power mode that can reduce running costs and power consumption by up to 90%, leading to a very low total cost of ownership.
The system design at The Bayou Church underwent some final fine-tuning to ensure sightlines to the stage and screens were optimal from the outer seating areas. The EV applications engineering team used EASE modeling to move the XLD arrays about two feet upstage, while maintaining coverage; Gulf Coast Sound then created custom trussing for their precision deployment.
“That’s one of the reasons we love working with Electro-Voice,” notes Larry Habetz. “We have a great relationship. They are always there to support us, whether it’s with design assistance like this or product updates that give our existing systems new life, adding value to the original investment. That commitment gives us confidence in the systems we install, and we pass that along to our customers.”
Ed Gore of The Bayou Church agrees. “I really admire the way Gulf Coast Sound stayed committed to making the final install the best it could be,” he says. “That was just very reassuring. As for the system, the coverage is very even everywhere you go, and the more I listen to it, the more positive I am that Electro-Voice was really the right choice for us. We’re really pleased.”