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10 Recent House of Worship Projects

Thomas S. Friedman • InstallationsJuly 2021 • July 9, 2021

Central Church, Henderson, NV

The pandemic may have slowed the audio industry down, but sonic upgrades in the church market have been happening at a breathtaking pace. Here’s a look at 10 recent projects.

Church of Holy Apostles, McHenry, IL

APAV Solutions recommended d&b audiotechnik Y and V Series speakers

With live stream and in-person services for its 1,700-family congregation, the 1,200-seat Church of Holy Apostles in McHenry, IL is a family-oriented contemporary and traditional house of worship. To mitigate adverse reflections in the reverberant church space, “we recommended the d&b Y-Series two-way passive loudspeaker systems,” says Craig Beyrooti, APAV Solutions of Altamonte Springs, FL. “We relied upon the d&b dipole LF arrangements within the YiP and ViP point source speakers to achieve the desired results.” The system includes Yi10P, Vi10P, and 16C column speakers. “Y-Series provides great clarity and offers excellent coverage from a compact cabinet. The sound is clear and warm at the same time and satisfies the tone for sermon as well as musicians.”

According to Beyrooti, the key to the project was accurately modeling the performance in d&b’s ArrayCalc simulation software. “Due to the architecture and seating areas, the rigging plan was challenging and we needed to hang the loudspeakers right the first time. ArrayCalc gave us all the information required. We leveraged the DSP in the 30D and 10D amplifiers and combined that with external DSP to give us two distinct sound systems: One we call the lecture system, times the Y-Series speakers to the center of the altar; and one that times some of the Y-Series to localize the sound to the choir area. For contemporary services, acoustic drums, grand piano, percussion and other acoustic instruments anchor the sound by timing both the V- and Y-Series speakers to those sources. This results in a more engaging experience as the congregations’ eyes and ears can work in unison without the brain having to compensate for sounds not coming from areas where their eyes are looking.”

Two d&b 16C column speakers mounted on either side of the altar high up in the architecture focus on the altar area by using the 16C’s narrow 40-degree horizontal dispersion. The wider 90-degree vertical coverage serves to get sound from front to back of each speaker’s coverage area. Each loudspeaker has its own mix, providing independent control of each zone.

The church’s veteran music director, Craig Colson, has worked on a lot of amazing sound systems. “This system is by far the finest system I have ever had the privilege of working with,” says Colson. “The sound clarity is unmatched and everyone in the church can hear at a balanced level — regardless of where they’re sitting. You hear everything more clearly in every part of the church. No more dead spots.”

Church of Holy Apostles

  • Capacity: 1,200
  • Key Components: d&b audiotechnik Y- and V-Series
  • Integrator: APAV Solutions

 

Central Church, Henderson, NV

Adam Taylor with the DiGiCo Quantum338 console at the church’s FOH mix position

During the pandemic, Central Church, located in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, used the Covid slowdown to update the infrastructure of its 4,850-seat main auditorium. As part of that, Nashville’s Spectrum Sound supplied and installed three DiGiCo Quantum338 consoles (for FOH, monitors and video broadcast) with two SD-Racks on an Optocore loop. All boards are fitted with 32-bit “Ultimate Stadius” mic preamps and DMI-DANTE 64@96 modules. Further, a DMI-KLANG card on the monitor desk drives the Shure PSM-1000 IEM units used onstage. In the church’s broadcast suite, the third Quantum338 console is fed via a DiGiCo Mini-SD Rack, which takes an FOH feed from the Optocore loop, where it’s converted to AES-EBU and embedded in the video stream.

“We were ready for a complete upgrade of the church’s live audio, and the Quantums were the perfect choice because of their flexibility, layout, and sound,” says Central Church production manager/audio director Adam Taylor. “We already had a fiber network in the building, so the consoles and SD-Racks are literally ‘plug and play’ on the Optocore loop. Plus, we’re big Waves users, and having that integrated into all of the consoles makes things so much easier.”

Taylor and his colleagues were familiar with using DiGiCo’s SD-Range, so the move to the new Quantum platform was seamless. “Quantum really takes DiGiCo to another level in terms of functions and operation,” he says. “The workflow on the SD consoles was always good, but now, on Quantum, it’s great.”

He also mentioned the “little things,” such as the flexibility of routing. “We do a lot of playback through that console, so it’s great to have the Dante card for that there. The Stadius mic pre’s sound really good, transparent and when you drive them hard, they’re super-warm sounding, but at the end of the day, the Quantum338 consoles met and exceeded all of our expectations. They do everything we need them to do, they fit the budget, and — most importantly — they sound fantastic.”

Central Church

  • Capacity: 4,850
  • Key Components: (3) DiGiCo Quantum338 consoles
  • Integrator: Spectrum Sound

 

The Home Church, Lodi, CA

The main LCR clusters are hidden behind scrims above the stage

When the systems integration manager/design engineer for a company specializing in high value, high performance church projects is a member of a church who was constructing a new, 800-seat space, the project will be anything but “the usual.” But that was exactly the case when Mark Sweet, who runs the contracting half of Spider Ranch Productions, which offers both contracting, design/build and systems integration, as well as live concert production for national acts.

Sweet, a four-decade audio veteran, was brought in early on for the facility, intended for conventional church services as well as seasonal productions, concerts and special events. A versatile, feature-rich audio system was a priority. The custom system includes tri-amped LCR main clusters, 12 monitor rigs (six floor/six flown), as well as indoor and outdoor distributed audio with some 70 transducer components powered via 60 channels of Powersoft’s Dante-enabled Quattrocanali 1204DSP+D and 2404DSP+D amplifiers.

Powersoft’s Armonia Plus 2 software was used to advantage, “having the ability to process and tune every channel individually is essential in a system this complex,” says Duane Klose, the project’s electronics and software system tech. “Being able to arrange the layout to match the physical system and generate groups made it easy to configure, control and monitor the system at a glance, and configure simple buttons to change sources for indoor and outdoor zones without the need for extra control hardware.”

The Quatrocanali’s Dante inputs also shined, notes Klose, “especially in cases where a 1204 was powering a HF component and a 2404 was powering a LF component in the same speaker cabinet. All that took to wire the amplifier inputs was a pair of Ethernet cables, one for Dante network and one for control network, rather than four shielded analog pairs and Ethernet for control.”

The Quatrocanali amps are supported within Xilica Designer, so adding the amplifiers into the DSP design just involved dragging/dropping the amps into the design, and then matching the amplifier’s MAC addresses to the desired amplifier. In addition to audio DSP functionality, Xilica also enables the hardware and software to be used for touch screen control functionality, with a building-wide A/V control network built on an IP backbone connecting dozens of networked A/V devices controlled via custom screens designed by Sweet and Klose. Rocky Giannetta of GIA Design Group/Layer 8 handled acoustic modeling, with custom wall treatment hand-built by the church construction crew.

The centerpiece is the Sweet-designed custom center cluster, based on nine vintage Harbinger M800 2-way Fiberglas horns each housing a 2” exit Radian 950 neo HF driver and custom 12” JBL E120 cone mids. The upper five horns crossfire downward to cover the wide horizontal front seating; the lower four horns reach the rear 2/3 of the main floor. LF is extended by two dual-15 Electro-Voice EVF-215D subs, flown behind the horn cluster. Each left/right cluster has three Mark Wayne/Mark Sweet-designed Model 1257 “Triple-Horn” enclosures loaded with a 2” compression driver flanked by two 7” cone mids and two 12” woofers. Above each of these are three of the M800-style horns, as downfills for the front of house areas.

The upper stadium-style seats are covered by four more M800 2-way horns (combined with the 12” into horizontal enclosures) and extra Harbinger 1208 HF horns. Concrete soffits poured below the stage provide for expansion for integrated ground subs, and an Allen & Heath S7000 with three GX4816 stage boxes bring the input count up to 144 channels. Note: More on this install next month.

The Home Church

  • Capacity: 800
  • Key Components: Custom SRP speakers; Allen & Heath S7000
  • Integrator: Spider Ranch Productions

 

Summit Worship Center, Austin, TX

5 Words Media provided the new RCF HDL 28-A system

When lead pastor Eric Moore for the 300-seat Summit Worship Center approached David Cherry of integrator 5 Words Media about upgrading the sanctuary’s audio, the conversation focused on the underpowered previous system. Although the Center moved into a new 15,000-square-foot home back in 2018, the performance of that older loudspeaker system was disappointing.

“All the musicians who are members and perform at the church are touring professionals and deserve better sound,” said Cherry. “The church has some major talent with a powerful gospel feel, and they wanted a new system that would showcase that talent.”

The Summit Worship Center is a wide room with low ceilings. The pastor wanted to be mindful of sight lines to the stage from the outside seats, as well as accommodate the video projection and lighting system. When the opportunity came to demo a new sound system arose, the 5 Words Media crew set up two three-box RCF HDL 28-A active line arrays hangs and three SUB 9004-AS active subwoofers, two underneath the arrays and one positioned at center.

“Everything out of the box was easy to set up,” said Cherry. “With a few minor tweaks, we had the system up and running in no time. We used RDNet software to fine-tune the system inside an hour or so. I work exclusively with church installations and it was my first experience with RCF—it was nice to work so quickly.”

The result? “It did not disappoint,” said Cherry. While the demo was underway, the difference in sound quality was enough to draw in church members and the lead pastor. It didn’t take long at all to convince the church that what they were hearing was next level and they didn’t take long to make a decision. “That’s what we want,” Moore said with a smile. The RCF system was then permanently installed, along with a console upgrade to an Allen & Heath dLive Console.

Summit Worship Center

  • Capacity: 300
  • Key Components: RCF HDL 28-A; Allen & Heath dLive
  • Integrator: 5 Words Media

 

Southside Church, Chilliwack, BC Canada

The dLive C3500 console at FOH

Since it began in a school gymnasium 28 years ago, Southside Church has outgrown temporary homes, finally building a facility with two auditoriums and multipurpose spaces. Requiring flexibility, scalability and ease of use, integrators Sapphire Sound designed a system that would meet the church’s requirements. In the main auditorium, an Allen & Heath dLive DM48 MixRack, fitted with a Dante card, is paired with a dLive C3500 Surface to handle both FOH and monitors from one location. dLive’s integration with Shure digital wireless monitors and controls eight Shure ULX-D receivers from the C3500 Surface, all via Dante. Additionally, an A&H ME Personal Mixing system, with a ME-U hub and ME-1 personal mixers, gives performers control of their monitor mixes.

“At FOH, the mixer has everything we need,” says Josh Esmeijer, Southside’s in-house engineer. “I always find myself reaching for the DEEP compressors, and Dyn8’s multi-band compression and dynamic EQ makes controlling dynamics across the frequency spectrum easy. But, most importantly, it just sounds good.”

In the broadcast booth, a computer running dLive Director software is augmented with an IP8 remote controller, providing six layers of eight motorized faders, to deliver hands-on control of the broadcast feed with a minimal footprint. “We use the dLive for everything, from live services, to live-streaming, and multitrack recording” adds Esmeijer, “ and the added flexibility of Dante and dLive Director give us total control throughout the building.”

For the secondary auditorium, designed with youth ministries and conferences in mind, a 48-channel SQ-6 mixer, fitted with a Dante card, is partnered with a portable DT168 Dante remote expander that can be freely moved around the building as required. “The SQ is a great fit for our smaller auditorium” Esmeijer adds. “I like that the workflow and user interface is similar to the dLive, which will be important for training volunteers, and having them comfortable in both rooms.”

Steve Klassen of Sapphire Sound noted that “dLive is by far one of the easiest and most flexible platforms to train and equip users on. Its powerful routing capabilities and ease of use made it the right choice for this project.”

Southside Church

  • Capacity: 1,033
  • Key Components: Allen & Heath dLive, SQ & ME mixers
  • Integrator: Sapphire Sound

 

New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO

The church has a new Meyer Sound Lyon system

New Life Church recently installed a Meyer Sound Lyon line array system in its main worship space, known as The Living Room, a hexagonal structure with a capacity of nearly 8,000 in the round. In the current configuration, with the stage and video screens along one section, maximum occupancy is around 5,000. Each of the five remaining sections is now uniformly covered by a dedicated array of eight Lyon line array, supplied and installed by Colorado Springs-based Second Opinion Audio.

“From the outset, uniform coverage was a primary consideration,” says church technical director Evan Duran. “With the old system you could move 10 feet to one side and hear a different tonal balance. But from the moment we fired up the Lyon rig, I could walk across a section, from one side to the other, from back to front, and have the exact same experience.”

To maintain precise uniformity, each array hang has four Lyon-M mains on top for the longer throw, with four Lyon-W wide coverage models underneath for the closer seating areas. Stage front fills are 10 compact LINA speakers. Fifteen 1100-LFC low-frequency control elements — flown three per section in cardioid configuration — fill out the deep bass. For youth events, when maximum bass impact is desired, the 1100-LFCs can be lowered to the floor to leverage half-space coupling. System drive and optimization is via two Galaxy 816 Network Platforms, with comprehensive monitoring available via the RMS network.

Duran was enthusiastic after mixing on the new system. “The difference is incredible, it almost leaves you speechless,” he says. “And it’s not just from the standpoint of power, but also the clarity and linearity — the faithfulness to what’s happening on stage. Whatever we put into this system is exactly what we hear coming out.”

Music diversity was another deciding factor in favor of the Meyer Sound solution, says Duran. “We have summer youth events with everything from screaming guitars to rap to techno, and this system will handle them all. But on Good Friday, we had a string quartet. The Lyon system replicated everything intimately, with each instrument in its own space, as if you were sitting right in front of the players, with no P.A. in between. To have an experience like that in a room this size is truly remarkable, and it takes some impressive technology to achieve.”

New Life Church

  • Capacity: 5,000
  • Key Components: Meyer Sound Lyon
  • Integrator: Second Opinion Audio

 

Christ Fellowship Church, Riviera Beach, FL

The new L-Acoustics Syva system meets the portable church site’s power concerns and can be deployed quickly and easily

Founded in 1984 as a small Bible study group, Christ Fellowship has grown to become one of the largest churches in America with more than 28,000 in attendance each week at 12 locations throughout the southern Florida. Recently, Christ Fellowship added a new temporary “portable” church that meets in Suncoast Community High School’s 800-seat auditorium. The new location, officially opened over the Easter weekend, features an L-Acoustics Syva sound system that both meets the church’s need for a powerful P.A. system, can be deployed quickly and provides a tool for eventually helping future temporary locations transition into permanent ones.

In Riviera Beach, the system comprises two Syva main colinear source enclosures, two Syva Low bass reflex modules, and four KS21 subwoofers, split between the left and right sides of the stage and mounted on KS21-Chariot carts. These are powered by two LA4X amplified controllers, split between the left and right sides of the system, which also power two pole-mounted X12 coaxial delay speakers set up 11 feet high in the back of the room to compensate for the higher elevation of the last several rows of seating.

“The KS21 subs were added because the church wanted a higher low-end output for their worship music. Plus, they interfaced well in the amplifier scheme alongside the Syva,” says Nick Geiger of Diversified, the project’s AV systems integrator. “They also wanted consistency in the sound between all of their locations, most of which also have L-Acoustics speakers. It can be set up and taken down quickly and easily, and can run on wall power. Those were very important criteria for the church. Also, it sounds great, which they expected because Christ Fellowship uses a lot of L-Acoustics systems, from the smallest to the largest, in their other locations.”

In fact, the church has a K2 rig in its 1,900-seat worship space in Port St. Lucie, and Kara, Kiva II, ARCS WiFo, and ARCS II systems in various other locations—plus another portable “pop-up” church system featuring eight A15 enclosures, eight KS21, four X8 frontfills and LA4X power.

In terms of consistency, Christ Fellowship’s production director Danny Dagher adds, “we like that we get a consistent audio experience in every location,” he says. “But that’s been especially true of Syva, which gives us that same experience with just a bit less SPL than the larger P.A. systems we have. It’s delivering a concert-like experience here at 95 dBA, and we still have 6 dB of headroom, so the punch is there, but so are the clarity and intelligibility.”

Christ Fellowship Church

  • Capacity: 800
  • Key Components: L-Acoustics Syva
  • Integrator: Diversified

 

Grace Ministries International, Garden Grove, CA

Integrator Troy Choi selected a Coda Audio N-RAY rig for the church

Grace Ministries International is one of the biggest Korean churches in the USA, with more than 8,000 members. A year ago, dissatisfied with its sound system, the church turned to Troy Choi of Solid Sound Solution for an answer. Steve McNeil, a rep for Coda Audio and a longtime friend of Choi’s, suggested he check out the company’s new N-RAY system.

From the system’s relatively small size, Choi was skeptical at first, but was impressed when he first heard it at a demo. “I took some familiar tracks with me that I use for sound-checks and put them through the system without EQ or processing. I knew right away this is one cool sound system — the power and clarity was off the scale.”

Having found what he was looking for, Choi suggested the Church opt for Coda and arranged for a demo N-RAY system with subs to be delivered to the church. “We set up the demo rig in advance of an evening service and a few people in the church looked a little doubtful, given the compact size of the system. And the church pastor is a quiet-spoken presenter with a soft voice; in the past, the congregation sometimes had difficulty hearing him. After that Friday service demo, many people mentioned how clearly he could be heard — they were delighted with the improvement. Everybody present was very impressed and the decision to install a Coda system was confirmed unanimously.”

Choi then consulted with Coda USA’s technical director Michael Creason, who created a system based around N-RAY speakers, complemented by APS, N-APS and SCP subwoofers, to obtain complete coverage of the space. A selection of Coda HOPS5 and HOPS8i were deployed for monitoring and two HOPS5 dual-5” coaxial speakers were ideal for low-profile, front fill speakers.

“The system is fantastic, and everyone at the Church is very happy with the choice,” says Choi. “I would add that the level of service and engagement I’ve had with Coda Audio USA has been remarkable. During every part of the process, I felt like I was dealing with genuine audio people who were passionate about achieving exactly what we needed.”

Grace Ministries International

  • Capacity: Approx. 2,500
  • Key Components:
  • Integrator: Solid Sound Solution

 

Epic Church International, Sayreville, NJ

The church upgraded with a DAS Audio Aero system

Church officials at Epic Church International recently elected to upgrade the audio in their sanctuary and contracted with Advanced Audio of New York to design and deploy the new sound system. After consulting with church management, Advanced Audio’s owner and chief systems designer, Burton Ishmael selected a system comprised of DAS Audio Aero-20A compact line arrays with UX-218A and UX-221A powered subwoofers.

“The sanctuary is impressive as well as challenging,” Ishmael reports. “The fan-shaped room includes a wrap-around (180-degree) balcony. The space measures 150 feet at the maximum spread and the length of the space is 120 feet — with a 40-foot ceiling height. Services are contemporary in nature, with a praise team of vocalists as well as a full instrumental backup band. Because of this, it was crucial for the new sound system to have excellent speech intelligibility, first-rate music reproduction and consistent frequency response with sufficient SPL throughout the space.”

Ishmael and his team deployed three main loudspeaker clusters — left, center, right — with each cluster having six DAS Aero-20A enclosures. Farther out into the room, are two delay clusters (each with four Aero-20As) for the left and right side balcony area. LF support comes from DAS UX-218A subwoofers, with four behind each left/right Aero-20A cluster, along with four UX-221A subs along the front of the stage.

The Aero Series proved ideal for the job. “The DAS Aero-20A loudspeakers are not only musical, but their horizontal dispersion characteristics do a great job of providing even coverage throughout the space,” notes Ishmael. “Equally important, these loudspeakers don’t interfere with line-of-sight considerations — particularly important as there are left, center and right LED screens above the stage area. And DAS Audio’s DASnet audio management software took care of the networking and monitoring of all components in the system.”

Since the installation, Ishmael reports the new sound system has met with resounding success, “Everyone is really pleased with the new system. I’ve received numerous compliments from church management and members of the congregation have also commented on how clear and natural sounding the new system is.”

Epic Church International

  • Capacity: 2,300
  • Key Components: DAS Audio Aero and UX Series
  • Integrator: Advanced Audio

 

Dongil Church, Busan, South Korea

The church now features JBL VTX A8 speakers and a Soundcraft Vi1000 console

Established in 1996, in 2000 Dongil Church built a new 600-seat temple in Busan, South Korea’s second most populous city. To offer guests enhanced experiences during services and events, Dongil required a new audio system that delivered sparkling sound and speech intelligibility. Meeting those acoustical requirements, integrator TechDataPS equipped Dongil with an all-Harman Professional system.

To ensure balanced coverage across the church’s main hall, TechDataPS installed JBL VTX A8 compact line array speakers and VTX B18 arrayable subwoofers. The stage monitoring system includes JBL VTX M20 pro wedge monitors, AC195 and PRX812W full-range speakers and a dbx PMC16 personal monitor controller for fine-tuning performer mixes. Crown I-Tech 4x3500HD amplifiers power the system, while a Soundcraft Vi1000 digital console and Compact Stagebox provide flexible mixing functionality. Mics for vocals, speech and instruments feature an array of AKG mics, including the Drum Set Concert I collection, C214 large-diaphragm condenser, PZM-30 D hemispherical boundary layer mic, WMS470 Vocal Set D5 wireless system, D5 CS dynamic vocal mic and HC81 MD lightweight cardioid headworn mic.

Feeding the church’s baby room and lobby, TechDataPS deployed JBL Control 16C/T ceiling loudspeakers, while BSS EC-V Ethernet volume controllers and BSS BLU-100 signal processors with BLU link provide added flexibility. The children’s room and elementary rooms use JBL EON612 self-powered speakers, AKG mics and a Soundcraft Ui16 digital mixer, while the multipurpose room features JBL KP4012 full-range main speakers, JRX212s for monitoring and a Soundcraft Si Impact digital mixer and Soundcraft Mini Stagebox 16i. Rounding out the solution, TechDataPS equipped Dongil’s café and choir practice room with JBL EON208P all-in-one portable P.A. systems.

Representatives from the Dongil Church were very satisfied with the sound of the JBL VTX Series speakers, adding that the Vi1000 is compact and comfortable to use.

Dongil Church

  • Capacity: 600
  • Key Components: JBL VTX A8 speakers; Soundcraft Vi1000 console
  • Integrator: TechDataPS Co. Ltd.
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