Spotlight: Houses of Worship

by FOH Staff
in Installations
Hilton Presbyterian Church, Newport News, VA
Hilton Presbyterian Church, Newport News, VA

The only constant behind optimizing the sound for a house of worship project is change. Along with the shift from traditional church music to something more akin to a rock concert, church congregations are moving into unorthodox locations, and traditional churches are reaching out with mobile satellite services in gyms and other non-traditional locations. With sound designers and audio integrators scrambling over an obstacle course of potential compromises to the goal of an ideal listening experience for every seat in the house of worship, those manufacturers who can provide gear to meet their “mission impossible” challenges for any space have a decisive advantage.

Victory Life Church, Battle Creek, MI

ASG installed a Nexo/Yamaha system for the church’s contemporary services, featuring a band comprised of eight to 12 musicians.

Advanced Systems Group (ASG) of Fort Wayne, IN provides high quality audio, video, lighting, and acoustics for the house of worship and sound reinforcement markets. For a recent project for Battle Creek, MI-based Victory Life Church, ASG installed a Nexo and Yamaha system in the main sanctuary along with a smaller system for a second multi-purpose gathering space within the church.

With a congregation of approximately 2,000 and a main sanctuary that seats about seats about 820 members, Victory Life Church accommodates the needs of worshippers with multiple services on Saturday evenings and Sunday mornings. The church also offers additional programs during the week.

A Yamaha QL5 with a Rio 3224-D input output box is used for the main worship space.

For its contemporary worship services, the church uses eight to 12 musicians on a rotatable schedule. The band performs its own original music as well as mainstream worship music, and the church leadership places a high priority on sonic quality within the church.

“We provided a Yamaha QL Digital Audio Console to the church for demo purposes and they loved it,” says Rick Stewart of ASG, who designed the system. “As far as the Nexo systems, the church based its decision on our recommendation.

“This was a design/build project, so we made our selection, and the Yamaha and Nexo combination was perfect for both installations,” Stewart continues. “Dante was a key component to interface with the church’s Shure Wireless Systems/Yamaha Rio input/output boxes for multiple rooms and capable of network audio.”

The church installed sound systems in its main worship space and also a smaller multi-purpose room.

The sanctuary system consists of a Nexo GEO S12 system, two Nexo STM subs, two PS10s, two NXAmp 4x4 amplifiers with Dante cards and a Yamaha QL5 with a Rio 3224-D input output box.

“We always encourage our team to bring their very best to God as worship,” says Caleb Sunnock, Victory Life Church’s worship pastor. “The quality of the Yamaha and Nexo system has taken our sound and creativity to the next level.”

The smaller multi-purpose room holds approximately 200 and is used primarily for youth meetings, worship and band practices. “A combination of Nexo PS speakers and a Yamaha TF5 Digital Audio Console were chosen for the room and provide a great sound, consistency, and fidelity for all groups,” says Stewart.

The Nexo speakers are positioned left/right, to provide full concert venue quality sound in stereo with side fills to cover the outside wings. The multi-purpose room system consists of two Nexo PS10s, two LS600 subs, Nexo NXAmp 4x1 amplifier with Dante card, and the Yamaha TF5 and Tio1608-D i/o rack. “Although small in footprint, the sound quality astounded the church at their very first meeting,” notes Stewart.

NEXO PS speakers and a Yamaha TF5 Digital Audio Console are used for the smaller room.

“The Yamaha and Nexo systems have surpassed our expectation in every way,” states James Sunnock, Lead Pastor. Being a lead pastor, I knew sound and quality were important, but not being experienced with music first hand, I had no idea just how important good, clear, quality sound is in creating the worship experience. At times, it’s easy to look at the dollars being invested in a system and begin to feel that maybe it’s about the production. In reality, by investing in a quality system, distractions are removed, allowing the focus to be on the worship experience. Literally, when walking through our new worship center, before service, I had to look up to see if I was hearing a CD playing or if the band was still practicing. It was our worship team practicing!”

Pastor Sunnock said that because of their partnership with Yamaha, Nexo, and ASG, more people are participating and entering into their worship service than ever before. “It’s very noticeable with the increase in participation from the congregation. And, the ease of use allows our teams to focus on what’s important... leading the church in worship. There are a lot of manufacturers willing to sell you things, but with Yamaha and Nexo products and ASG designing the system, we are better able to minister and achieve our goals.”

Victory Life Church

  • Key Components: Nexo GEO S12 system, Yamaha QL5 (Main Sanctuary); Nexo PS speakers, Yamaha TF5 (Multipurpose Room)
  • Integrator: ASG, Fort Wayne, IN

 

Hilton Presbyterian Church, Newport News, VA

Hilton Presbyterian Church, Newport News, VA upgraded with an RCF HDL line array system.

Hilton Presbyterian Church has a heritage in the Newport News, VA community that dates back to the 1800’s. The community, situated close to where the James River flows into Chesapeake Bay, emerged as a hub for shipbuilding, dry docks and the transport of shipped goods via rail link.

The church’s first services were held on the piers, with congregants seated on coils of rope and piles of timber. As the city grew in the early 1900s, fueled by the growth in the shipbuilding business, church leaders established the first permanent building for the congregation by converting an old YMCA building into a church location. Although it could boast of little more than bare floors, folding chairs and a piano, it was a step up from the old services held on the piers.

The congregation grew further, and a new sanctuary was built in 1981. Since then, the church has re-oriented its nave and upgraded its AV systems further to enhance the worship experience.

Audio Light and Music’s Rome Gehrig provided the upgrade.

In terms of audio reinforcement, what started out as a single 12-inch co-ax speaker located in a corner of the church grew into a setup with more speakers, as the worship services expanded. But church leaders and worshippers soon noted that speaker positions and phasing issues created inaudible spots in certain parts of the sanctuary.

To address those coverage issues, and also optimize the sound system for services that have expanded even further with a contemporary worship style that now includes a praise band, church leaders sought an assist from Norfolk-based Audio Light and Music.

“When we initially started talking, they wanted to make sure every seat was getting properly covered, from front to back,” says Audio Light and Music’s Rome Gehrig. “We suggested a line array solution.”

Along with the need to provide proper sound coverage, Gehrig faced two other issues — maintaining the architectural décor and budget.

Familiar with the sound of RCF line arrays, Gehrig considered their HDL Series. “We found a solution that met those needs of the church — sound, plus we found the HDL10-A was available in white and certainly met their budgetary price-performance needs.”

Once Gehrig presented the budget, the church’s leadership was pleasantly surprised, finding enough left over to add video projection capabilities.

The new audio system features left-right arrays of three HDL10-A, active two-way dual 8-inch line arrays, with two SUB708-AS active 18-inch subwoofers tucked into decora cabinets on either side of the chancel.

Along with the need to optimize audio coverage while staying within budget, Gehrig faced tight constraints with the time frame allotted for installation. While the project proposal took months before final approval, once it was done, the church wanted the installation done immediately.

Once again, Gehrig got an assist from RCF. He was able to procure the equipment and begin installation within a week of the church delivering the contract. “And RCF helped with some final engineering decisions to assure we have all the proper parts and pieces to complete the installation in a timely manner,” he concludes.

Hilton Presbyterian Church, Newport News, VA

  • Key Components: RCF HDL10-A, SUB708-AS
  • Integrator: Audio Light and Music, Norfolk, VA

 

Clear Springs Baptist Church, Knoxville, TN

Templeton Sound Systems installed PreSonus WorxAudio TrueLine arrays.

Located in Corryton, TN, in the greater Knoxville area, Clear Springs Baptist Church is a thriving house of worship whose motto, “Family of Faith,” underscores the tight-knit relationships shared by worshippers.

The church recently completed construction of its new campus and, to ensure the best sound reinforcement capability for their sanctuary, they ended up with a sound system incorporating components from PreSonus/WorxAudio TrueLine and Wave Series components, sourced via PreSonus’ Commercial Division by Orangeburg, SC-based Templeton Sound Systems.

Michael W. Templeton, president of Templeton Sound Systems, which specializes in discussed the design and installation of church audio, video recording, and multimedia systems, discussed the project and his reasons for choosing TrueLine XL1i-P and V5-M line array systems.

“Clear Springs Baptist Church is a vibrant organization,” Templeton notes. “Per Mike Tipton, the church’s music minister, their services can best be described as having a pronounced Southern Gospel style of music mixed with an old country style of Baptist worship. Simply put, this is a big church with a small church feel. They use both a choir and a live instrument ensemble consisting of piano, organ, bass, drums, guitars, strings, and winds. Services are very lively.”

Templeton notes that, in their old sanctuary, there were numerous challenges in terms of the sound. “Coverage was very uneven, with numerous dead spots,” he says. “Complicating matters further, the sound was typically much louder in the front and almost non-existent in the rear of the room. Between the dead spots and the hot spots, intelligibility suffered a lot.”

To ensure this scenario was not repeated in the new sanctuary, Templeton and his crew made use of 18 WorxAudio TrueLine XL1i-P compact line arrays, with nine elements each for the left and right hangs. To ensure the choir and other performers onstage could hear clearly, a WorxAudio X2i-P/D self-powered, two-way, high efficiency, ultra-compact line array loudspeaker system was flown over the choir/stage area. For low frequency support, four WorxAudio TrueLine TL218SSi-P dual 18-inch sub bass enclosures were incorporated into the setup. These powered subwoofers are placed in recessed enclosures across the front of the stage area.

Rounding out the loudspeaker setup, Templeton and his team positioned three TrueLine V5M ultra-compact line array enclosures across the front of the stage area for front fill purposes and another four V5M enclosures were deployed for under-balcony fill.

Additionally, two WorxAudio Wave Series 8M 2-way, high efficiency floor monitors further ensure clear sound for those on the stage. Crown amplifiers drive the non-powered loudspeakers.

“This is a very clean-looking installation,” says Templeton. “The two XL1i-P loudspeaker clusters are supported by 1.5-inch pipe used with the adjustable WorxAudio TrueAim Grid. There are no chains and no visible wires to distract from the aesthetics of the space.”

When queried about those attributes that really made the WorxAudio loudspeaker systems the best choice for this project, Templeton offered the following thoughts. “The XL1i-P loudspeaker has an unusually broad 160-degree horizontal dispersion pattern. This ensures broad, even coverage that simply isn’t matched by competing loudspeaker systems. Because of this unique capability, we were able to provide excellent coverage for the over-800-seat congregation without cluttering the space with a lot of enclosures.

“This sound system is top notch in every way, and that includes the quality of support services we received from PreSonus’ Commercial Audio Division,” Templeton continues. “Since the first service in May 2016, we’ve received numerous, glowing reports from our client. They’ve described it as a ‘world-class system with amazing clarity and plenty of headroom.’ This is absolutely the best-sounding system in the greater Knoxville, TN area and the surrounding counties.”

Clear Springs Baptist Church, Corryton, TN

  • Key Components: PreSonus WorxAudio TrueLine XL1i-P, X2i-P/D, TL218SSi-P
  • Integrators: Templeton Sound Systems, PreSonus Commercial Audio Division

 

Hope Community Church, Raleigh, NC

The 2,000-seat worship space is covered by a Martin Audio MLA Compact system.

For its campus in Raleigh, NC, Hope Community Church worked with DP Design of Milwaukee, WI on an audio upgrade that makes use of a Martin Audio MLA Compact system.

“We were called in to design a new audio system for the church because the original one was at the end of its life. They decided on a complete upgrade instead of replacing it,” says DP Design founder and owner David Price.

“The worship space seats 2,000 in a room with a unique design that curves out in a fan shape,” Price adds. “There’s a large catwalk that drops down over the audience that can block audio going to the small balcony over the main entrance door, which was one of the challenging structural elements we had to work around.

DP Design’s David Price handled the audio design.

“In addition, there is raised stadium-style seating that slopes up and gets steeper towards the sides. It’s a very wide room, and the Martin Audio MLA system is one of the few that has a coverage pattern wider than 120 degrees, which came in handy, considering the room’s design.”

Typically, Hope Church has a modern type worship service with electric bands, so the system had to reproduce music at higher levels as well as providing spoken word clarity for the sermons.

For that, Price designed a setup with eight MLA Compact per side and eight MLA Mini enclosures flown over the center of the stage in L-C-R array configuration. This enables the church to run the pastor’s sermon through the center array for a more authentic “church-like” sound, while simultaneously achieving concert-quality stereo sound for the music.

The L-C-R array system includes eight MLA Compact per side flanking eight MLA Mini enclosures flown over the center of the stage.

A solid concrete platform stage eliminated the option of digging out cavities for the subs, and there was no place to put them on or alongside the stage, so two MLX subs were flown behind the MLA Compacts on each side.

As Price points out, “the Church wanted the speaker system to be very streamlined and unobtrusive, despite the large catwalk and projectors, and we accomplished that. I am very happy the speakers are totally out of sight and can produce the sound levels as needed but are not a feature of the stage, just invisibly hung where they need to be.”

“MLA was the obvious choice given the need for concert-quality sound which Martin Audio is known for,” Price adds. “Plus, the control MLA delivers helped us overcome unique acoustical problems such as the 24-inch I-beam under the catwalk that causes slapback and other noise issues.

“Now the church has a system that provides smooth, even coverage with exceptional rear cancellation that eliminates the unusual amount of reverberation on stage,” Price continues. “Plus, MLA’s software is a completely different way of doing DSP where you can control what the decibel and EQ response is from front to back, which makes it very flexible and powerful. It also helped us eliminate a bass buildup problem under the balcony by the entrance doors and catwalk issues with the Hard Avoid feature.

Summing up, Price concludes that although this was “a uniquely challenging room with a staff that can be very picky about audio quality,” the project was an unqualified success. “I’ve been the AV provider over a year now,” he says, and instead of a single complaint, there have been “nothing but ‘wows’ of amazement in terms of the clarity and how good the system sounds.”

Hope Community Church, Raleigh, NC

Hope Community Church, Raleigh, NC

  • Key Components: Martin Audio MLA Compact, MLA Mini
  • Integrators: DP Design, Milwaukee, WI

 

Eastside Christian Church, Anaheim, CA

The church uses Meyer Sound’s new Mobile H.O.W. Solution to conduct services off-site. Pictured here, the service in the gym at Whittier Christian High School in La Habra, CA.

A new satellite setup for southern California’s Eastside Christian Church is the first to make use of a new portable system of Meyer Sound Leopard line array loudspeakers. Installed on carts that are rolled into place weekly by volunteers, the self-contained arrays deliver ample power to supply sound for up to 800 worshippers gathered in the Whittier Christian High School gym, nine miles from the church's Anaheim main campus.

The Leopard system can be rolled out in 15 minutes, and the entire sound setup can be deployed in an hour.

For Chris Gille, Eastside's CTO and chief systems engineer, the ready-made Leopard arrays turned out to be the ideal solution to a vexing problem common to nearly all portable churches borrowing gymnasiums for worship.

"We have extremely high standards for audio quality at our main campus, where we have Meyer Sound MICA arrays and Constellation active acoustics," he says. "I knew the smaller Leopard would be a good fit here, but the question was, 'Where do we put them?' Flying was problematic because we didn't want to be locked into fixed seating layouts. Also, there are strict regulations about clearance for sports activities and safety, which meant motorizing the hangs. All of that would be cost-prohibitive."

The eventual design solution was a collaborative effort, with a ready-made solution mounted on carts proposed by Meyer Sound house of worship specialist Daniel Rivera and further developed by Gille and T.C. Furlong of the eventual system supplier, Lake Forest, IL-based TC Furlong Inc.

"It works extremely well," says Gille. "It sends out a narrow lobe that skims peoples' heads, and it's a perfect match for the room's acoustic treatments. We have more than enough headroom to let the worship band go anywhere they want musically, even if we pull out the bleachers and fill the room to its maximum of 800 people."

 The total transformation — including audio, staging and seating, turns the gym into a worship setting in less than three hours.

The complete system includes six Leopard line array loudspeakers and two 900-LFC low-frequency control units split across the two carts. Space at the bottom on one side accommodates an MDM-832 distribution module and Galileo 616 loudspeaker processing system, while the opposite cart holds the color-coded audio cables and AC mains cable during storage.

"We can have the Leopard rig rolled out and ready in under 15 minutes, and all the audio ready inside an hour," notes Gille. "Including stage and seating, the total prep time is about three hours."

Gille specified some added acoustic treatments to complement the system coverage pattern. A line of two-inch absorptive panels was placed on the back wall to dampen slap-back, and the two thick panels that protect the 20-foot-wide ROE LED screen, when pulled aside for Sunday worship, function as effective traps for low-mid energy.

The complete system includes six Leopard line array loudspeakers and two 900-LFC low-frequency control units split across the two carts.

"Overall I'm very impressed with what I'm hearing," concludes Gille. "It's a fun feeling to have all that power and still hear detail in a gymnasium environment. Detail, in a gym — how can you do that? I chalk it up to putting really good gear with precise pattern control and a linear response, and that's what we get with this Leopard rig. Beyond that, you can't go wrong investing in Meyer, as flexible components like these can be redeployed in new solutions as needs change."

Front-end gear contributing to the audio quality includes a Yamaha CL-5 digital mixer, DPA headset microphones, Shure wireless systems and a complement of wired microphones from Audix and Shure.

Eastside Christian's new main campus, opened in late 2012, is housed inside a completely reconstructed former Boeing Defense Systems plant. It features one of the newest worship auditoriums to offer variable acoustic characteristics using Meyer Sound's Constellation acoustic system.

Eastside Christian's new main campus, opened in late 2012, is housed inside a completely reconstructed former Boeing Defense Systems plant.

Eastside Christian Church, Anaheim, CA

  • Mobile H.O.W. Location: Whittier Christian High School gym
  • Key Components: Meyer Sound Leopard, 900-LDF units
  • Collaborators: Eastern Christian Church/Chris Gille, Meyer Sound/Daniel Rivera, TC Furlong, Lake Forest, IL

 

Calvary Community Church, Sumner, WA

CCI Solutions installed an L-Acoustics ARCS WiFo system as part of an audio system upgrade at Calvary Community Church. Photos by Kandis Spurling

Sometimes it’s hard to focus when there’s an elephant in the room—or, in this case, four of them—big, white, noisy and looming over the stage.

After years of wrangling a bulky, dated sanctuary P.A. system, Sumner, WA-based Calvary Community Church finally turned to CCI Solutions (Olympia, WA) to outfit its 550-seat main campus worship space with a visually discreet yet powerful new ARCS WiFo Constant Curvature WST line source system from L-Acoustics.

CCI project lead Mark Pearson notes that the previous system of “refrigerator-sized boxes” wasn’t up to the task as the four-campus church’s worship style became more contemporary since the turn of the century. Their bulk, he added, also created sightline issues.

 

“There wasn’t a high-enough ceiling or proscenium for a true line array system, and a point-source system wasn’t going to cut it there, either,” says Pearson.

The solution came in the form of two L-Acoustics ARCS Wide and one ARCS Focus per side for a flown system that flanks a four-box center horizontal array of four SB18i subwoofers.

A pair of coaxial 12XT enclosures is used as monitors for the stage, and all of the L-Acoustics speakers are powered via three LA4X amplified controllers, which are also the primary DSP engines for the system.

A pair of coaxial 12XT enclosures is used as monitors for the stage, and all of the L-Acoustics speakers are powered via three LA4X amplified controllers, which are also the primary DSP engines for the system.

Pearson says the ARCS WiFo system proved to be well suited to the church’s audio needs. WiFo’s compact form factor allowed it to be flown without impinging on sightlines from any seat, and its precise coverage capability enabled CCI Solutions to design a system that conforms exactly to the sanctuary’s seating.

“This is a converted gym, so there are hard surfaces on the floor and ceiling,” he explains. “The WiFo let us fly the system but still keep the energy off of those reflective surfaces, preserving the clarity of both the music and message.”

And just as important, according to Pearson, is the system’s reputation for reliability. “The WiFo has become our first choice for mid-sized houses of worship like this one,” he says. “The results—the sound and the performance—are always great.”

Photos by Kandis Spurling

Calvary Community Church, Sumner, WA

  • Key Components: L-Acoustics ARCS Wide, ARCS Focus, SB18i, 12XT
  • Integrator: CCI Solutions, Olympia WA

 

Grace Orlando, Orlando, FL

Avnew installed Adamson Systems components. Flown L-R arrays of Adamson S10 enclosures and four S119 subs on the ground cover the 100-by-60-foot sanctuary.

Grace Church purchased the former Bahia Shrine building from Orlando’s Shriners last year and, earlier this year, opened Grace Orlando, one of six church campuses serving the greater Orlando, FL area. The newly-acquired 45,000 square foot building, located on about 10 acres of land, has a 600-seat worship space.

To ensure optimum coverage and audio quality, worship pastor Chad Wyatt, who has a background in production technology, worked with Gil Parente of Avnew (Altamonte Springs, FL), the church’s longtime audio equipment provider, and they opted for a solution in the form of Adamson Systems Engineering’s S-Series loudspeakers.

“Full coverage is something we’ve lacked over the past 14 years at our part-time facility,” says Grace Orlando’s Wyatt. “We wanted everyone to hear the word clearly and feel like the music is totally immersing them in the new space.”

The music ministry is a vital part of the church’s dynamic and spirited services, with a worship band that includes everything from full drums to guitars and keys to a horn section. For that reason, musical warmth was another must.

Wyatt and Avnew’s Parente turned to Mainline Marketing, Adamson’s Florida-based rep firm, for a closer look at a solution that would incorporate Adamson Systems Engineering components.

“What really sold us on the system is when Mainline led us on a trip to the factory in Canada and we saw how everything was manufactured in house,” says Parente. “The quality control, the state-of-the-art equipment — that was the kind of company we were looking for, a reputable company with a focus on design and really strong support. Then we heard the system, and we were blown away. It was everything we were hoping for in that partnership.”

Grace Orlando opted for a L-R array system to cover its sanctuary, which measures about 100 by 60 feet (WxD). It’s comprised of six Adamson S10 two-way, full range line array cabinets per side, with four S119 subwoofers lining the ground in front of the stage.

From the church’s leadership to its technical volunteers to its congregants, Wyatt reports total satisfaction with the new system. “It’s just great-comment-after-great-comment on how amazing it sounds,” he concludes.

Grace Orlando, Orlando, FL

  • Key Components: Adamson Systems S10; S119 subs
  • Integrator: Avnew, Altamonte Springs, FL

 

The Chapel in Green, Akron, OH

One of the elaborate Christmas productions at Chapel in Green, which make used of an Allen & Heath dLive S Class digital mixing system.

The Chapel in Green recently completed the final phase of a major audio system upgrade by installing an Allen & Heath dLive S Class Digital Mixing System and an ME Series Personal Mixing System.

Built in 2003, the church is one of four campuses of The Chapel, a non-denominational church in the Akron, OH region. The campus, situated in the Akron suburb of Uniontown, OH, features an 1,800-seat sanctuary and 80-foot by 40-foot stage.

The Chapel in Green’s worship services may feature its 60-member choir and full orchestra or its praise band and vocalists. Christmas and Easter programs utilize as many as 80 microphones and other sources.

Provided by integrator Pro Audio Innovations, the dLive S Class mixes and controls these sources with an S7000 Surface, a DM64 MixRack, three DX32 Expanders and an IP8 Remote Controller, used in the video booth.

Technical director Rick Zuercher uses dLive layers to organize the church’s many inputs. The praise band and vocalists fill the top layer, and orchestra and choir mics and other sources are quickly accessible from the dLive’s lower layers. Critical sources such as the pastor’s mic and the worship leader’s mic are “frozen” on all layers.

Zuercher uses dLive delay and chorus effects and the dual-stage valve (tube emulation) on selected sources, and he records services to a stereo video recorder. The entire dLive setup is saved to a USB drive, and each volunteer operator has their own log-in, giving them quick access to their own settings.

The church’s ME system consists of an ME-U Hub and 12 ME-1 Personal Mixers, which are used by band members to mix their own in-ear monitors.

“The sonic quality of the ME’s is a huge step up from the personal mixers we were using,” says Zuercher. “And the musicians love the local mic feature which allows them to hear what’s going on in the room.”

The dLive S Class let The Chapel in Green eliminate a pair of older digital mixers, a master clock and a troublesome digital snake.

“The dLive is very user-friendly for John Maloney, Jon Pinney and Steve Henry, our technical volunteers,” says Zuercher. “And we were astonished at the clarity when we eliminated the old snake and went direct to the DM64 and up to the S7000. The dLive’s sound quality was the biggest unexpected gift that we received. And we are easily up 6dB in gain before feedback compared to the old system.”

FOH mixer Jon Pinney with the dLive S Class digital mixing system from Allen & Heath.

The Chapel in Green, Uniontown, OH

  • Key Components: Allen & Heath dLive S Class mixer, S7000 surface, DM64 MixRack, three DX32 Expanders, IP8 remote controller
  • Integrator: Pro Audio Innovations, Canton, OH

 

Maranatha Church, Forest Lake, MN

EMI Audio provided a Bose RoomMatch system.

Maranatha Assembly of God is a Pentecostal church with two campuses in Minnesota — Forest Lake and Chisago City. And Bob Headley, pastor at the Forest Lake campus, is the first to admit that services aren’t always exactly shy or timid in their style of music. “It’s a full-on rock band, and it can get intense,” Headley says, of the sonic experience delivered within the Forest Lake campus’ 1,000-plus-seat sanctuary.

With the worship leaders pushing things to 11, the previous sound system just wasn’t keeping up. It was taking more and more volume to fill the church. Reverberation off of the walls and floor, meanwhile, was diminishing speech intelligibility.

It was clearly time for a refresh, and Pastor Headley and a six-person committee evaluated the possibilities for a new sound system. Three regional companies came and made pitches with three different sound systems. The one they chose, however, was a RoomMatch system from Bose Professional, brought in by EMI Audio of Minneapolis.

EMI Audio designed a system composed of four RoomMatch enclosures in each of two left-right hangs. These flank a central cluster of four Bose RMS215 dual-15-inch subwoofers. Two additional RoomMatch speakers serve as fill speakers at the far ends of the stage.

In addition, three RMU208 utility speakers were installed as delay speakers for the entryway to the Sanctuary. Fifteen Bose DS100F FreeSpace ceiling loudspeakers are employed for a separate distributed lobby sound system. These are all powered by six Bose PM8500 PowerMatch amplifiers.

“We liked the RoomMatch system as soon as we heard it,” says Headley. “In fact, we actually liked it even more once we heard the philosophy behind it — the idea that the speakers are made to cover exactly what’s necessary in the room, keeping the sound on the audience and off of the walls. RoomMatch was a new paradigm about sound for us, and we liked it.”

Headley also credited the PowerMatch amplifiers for their 4-quadrant operation, which are designed to let the power supply instantaneously source and sink energy from either supply rail and return normally wasted energy from the loudspeaker and amplifier back into the power supply. “Its conservation of energy is very appealing,” he says.

Another key design feature of the RoomMatch system is its flexibility. When it became apparent that the hang positions of the system could interfere with the church’s projection screens, for example, the design could be physically tweaked so that the subs were placed in the center. With the RoomMatch units adjusted accordingly, the design continues to provide precise pattern coverage of the room.

“The RoomMatch system gives us a lot of flexibility to cover any kind of room,” says Jeff Geisler, sales/design with EMI Audio. “Maranatha Church has a large and unusually shaped room, plus they have a loud worship style, but RoomMatch has exactly the coverage patterns we need on each side of the room. It keeps the energy off the walls and other reflective surfaces and really improves the speech intelligibility and the sound of the music.”

Pastor Headley agrees, noting that since the Bose Professional RoomMatch system has been installed, the average volume in the sanctuary has gone down to a more manageable level, with the room sound fuller than ever. “We have really remarkable clarity to the sound now,” he says. “The speakers are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, and they’re taking us to the next level.”

Worship services immerse attendees in sound.

Maranatha Church, Forest Lake, MN

  • Key Components: Bose RoomMatch, RMS215, RMU208, DS100F; PM8500 PowerMatch amps
  • Integrator: Pro Audio Innovations, Canton, OH