Housed on the campus of Oakwood University, Oakwood Adventist Academy (OAA)
has been an integral part of the Huntsville community since its founding in 1896 as
the Oakwood Industrial School. In recent years, the coeducational, pre-K-12
Academy has upgraded its facilities considerably, including a 28,000-square-foot
middle school building, a cafeteria, and a large gymnasium.

The gym is a multi-purpose space that hosts musical performances as well as
sports and other events. Like most gyms, it’s acoustically “live.” So when the
Oakwood Adventist Academy called on Quality Sound Systems to design and build a
new sound system for the gym, the Madison, Alabama, systems integrator carefully
considered how best to deliver music and highly intelligible speech in this
challenging acoustical environment. Renkus-Heinz CFX-series vertical arrays and
subwoofers proved to be key to the solution.

“It’s a beautiful gym,” states Quality Sound Systems’ Mark McCain. “But there’s a lot
of slapback, and we needed to do acoustical work on the back walls to keep the
reverb down.” For the main loudspeakers, McCain chose Renkus-Heinz CFX101LA
point-source vertical array modules. The CFX101LA can deliver up to 9 dB more
output with tighter vertical pattern control than a conventional single cabinet,
enabling McCain to direct the sound to the audience while minimizing the effects of
the gym’s reflective surfaces.

“We flew three CFX101LAs per side, aimed at the bleachers,” McCain recalls. “The
arrays cover 95 percent of the room, and you can understand speech very easily,
even in the back of the gym.”

For sub-lows, McCain chose a pair of Renkus-Heinz CFX15S 15-inch high-
performance subwoofers, which have a built-in low-pass crossover and can deliver
128 dB peak SPL between 40 Hz and 100 Hz. They were the right choice but McCain
encountered an unexpected challenge when installing them. “Toward the end of the
construction of the gym, the builder put in huge air ducts, which I hadn’t known
about beforehand,” he explains. “It made me change the design but it turned out for
the best – we ended up aiming the speakers in a somewhat unconventional way,
which gave us better coverage with fewer reflections. I mounted the subwoofers to
the main beam in the center of the gym, so they couple to the beam, and we get
more energy than if we had floated them in the air.”

McCain specified a white finish for the mains and subwoofers, and the cabinets
match the walls and main beam so well that you barely notice them unless you look
for them. “Everything came out just right, and the project ended up being absolutely
beautiful,” McCain exclaims. “The Oakwood Academy people are very pleased, and
so am I.