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Inside Some Recent House of Worship Projects

Thomas S. Friedman • InstallationsJanuary 2022 • January 6, 2022

In the house of worship market, sonic upgrades continue happening at a breathtaking pace. With that in mind, here’s a look at some recent audio installation projects — all focused on providing both optimal intelligibility of the spoken word and improved audio musicality.

Idibri and LD Systems provided a d&b audiotechnik KSL system.

Austin Ridge Church, Austin, TX

Austin Ridge Church recently opened its new 2,500-seat flagship Bee Cave Campus. This non-denominational church offers contemporary services with a full band and several worship leaders. On a given week, the setup could include drums, bass, two electric guitars, acoustic guitar, keys and up to five singers.

After careful consideration that matched the church program to the building’s room shape, acoustics and architectural/structural design, the church chose a d&b audiotechnik KSL-Series. Idibri senior consultant Ryan Knox and d&b regional manager Todd Hartman, who developed the system, used d&b ArrayProcessing technology to minimize reflections from walls and other surfaces while maintaining coverage consistency and an immersive feel.

Once the d&b system was selected, final commissioning was a collaborative effort between Idibri and d&b, with integration by Houston-based LD Systems. “We needed a system that could support their style of music with plenty of headroom along with the rear rejection to keep the levels on stage down,” states LD Systems’ Matt Rhodes. “We worked very closely with the church and Idibri to create a great stereo image for as many seats as possible. d&b’s management and prediction software was fantastic and d&b’s 40D install amps we put in are great. The sound system works well with the room to provide an expansive mix palate and consistent experience throughout the seating.”

KSL, the no-compromise, second sibling of d&b’s SL-Series line arrays, offers full-range broadband directivity and extended lows to deliver quiet stages and maximum clarity for the congregation. The system consists of a left/right array of eight KSL8 and KSL12 (ArrayProcessed) per side. Outfill L/R arrays have eight ArrayProcessed Yi8/side, with two Yi7P handling 270° fills. Front fills are eight d&b’s compact point-source 8S speakers with another 27 8S providing under-balcony fills and a 12S for stage fill. LF is via three flown SL-SUBs and seven 21S-SUB on the ground. Ten 40D amps drive the KSL rig with D80, 30D and 10D unit powering the other enclosures.

“The KSL system has been truly phenomenal to mix on,” adds Hartman, who also serves as the church’s primary FOH engineer. “The cleanness of the low-end allows for an incredibly impactful transient response, even at lower volumes. The vocals have perfect separation from the other midrange elements in the mix, and the top end is effortless — it never fatigues you. It’s hard for me to go back to mixing on anything else now.”

In late December, during the holiday week, the church added a 25-voice choir in addition to its regular 8-piece band. “It sounded great in the room,” says Austin Ridge technical director Gary Poole. Austin Ridge is thankful for the new Worship Center and proud of the partnership with d&b, who shared the vision of creating a truly inspirational and exciting place for worship.”

Austin Ridge Church

Owens Audio Video Design added a DiGiCo Quantum338 monitor console.

World Harvest Church, Columbus, OH

Located on a 57-acre campus, World Harvest Church has a 122,000-square-foot main building with a 5,200+ capacity sanctuary along with an auditorium, television studio, children’s ministry, the Harvest Preparatory School, and more, including Valor Christian College located on the property.

The church recently added a DiGiCo Quantum338 console as its monitor mixer — an addition to its existing DiGiCo SD8 FOH desk and upgraded its SD-Rack to include 32-bit “Ultimate Stadius” mic preamps. Additionally, the audio system infrastructure was updated, moving all of the DiGiCo platforms to an Optocore fiber network — all handled by Orlando-based Owens Audio Video Design, which installed the SD8 in 2010 and a Nexo P.A. in 2021.

“World Harvest Church tends to hang onto their systems and get the most ROI from them as possible, which isn’t unusual,” observes Bob Owens, owner of Owens Audio Video Design. “The Q338 is a great choice for them, with more faders and layers and inputs, but at a very cost-effective price for all that additional capability, plus the Quantum processing is a super plus for them.”

The church’s audio team now has 56 32-bit mic pre’s to work with, as well as 64 AES and analog outputs at monitors. In addition to the new pre’s, the SD-Rack also had new interface cards including five analog cards, two AES cards, a Dante card and an Aviom interface card for the church’s IEMs.

Joe Cooper, church’s audio director/FOH engineer, praised the Q338. “It made a huge difference for us from the very start. For starters, the 32-bit mic pre’s mean we can operate at 96k, which makes a big difference in the quality of the sound and gives us so much more headroom. And now that all of the consoles are on an optical loop, we can use the Q338’s control sends to easily move audio around the network.”

Cooper adds that the Q338’s Quantum processing has been a wonder to explore. “I’ve been using the Spice Rack a lot, particularly the six-band, dynamic, multiband compressor/expander, Chilli 6. I’ve been a big user of Waves in the past, especially the C6, and with Chilli 6, that kind of processing is now better integrated into the console itself.”

The addition of the Q338 and the fiber loop has changed the church’s workflow. In addition to the improvements in monitoring, Cooper plans on extending the network fiber to the church’s Pro Tools-based recording studio, something the Q338’s control sends will facilitate. And more expansion may be in the future. Cooper has recommended the church add a KLANG in-ear monitor mixing system for the stage. “Right now we’re mixing Pro Tools ‘in the box,’ but another Q338 would make a huge difference there, too,” he says. “You never know.”

World Harvest Church

Skylark AV installed L-Acoustics rigs in two campuses.

Church on the Move, Tulsa, OK

Tulsa’s fast-growing Church on the Move has over 7,000 members at three campuses surrounding a 2,200-seat main sanctuary. A major systems renovation at that primary location included an L-Acoustics K2 speaker system, designed and installed by Oklahoma City-based Skylark AV, an L-Acoustics certified installation provider.

K2 was chosen based on three things, says Skylark AV’s Todd Cromwell: “Performance, musicality and SPL. Church on the Move is very much a contemporary worship church when it comes to music, and it can get loud. At the same time, we had to keep speech intelligibility in mind.”

“The clarity of the K2 system is remarkable; you can have someone across the room on a microphone, and it sounds like they’re standing a foot away from you,” says church’s director of production Johnathan Basquez. “It’s the best intelligibility I’ve ever heard in a P.A. system, anywhere. The music can go from loud to soft, from 98 dB to 76 dB, but it never loses its presence. We like a lot of low-end in the sound, and it’s there, but we also like to be able to hear the vocals very clearly, and now we can. The definition is amazing.”

The new P.A. consists of ten K2/side in a left/right main system, with three K1-SB subs flown behind each hang and eight KS28 subs arrayed below the stage. In addition, a dozen Kara II per side are used as outfill arrays, two A15i as extreme sidefills, and 14 short-throw 5XT as front fills integrated into the stage, so they are out of sight. All loudspeakers are managed by the L-Acoustics P1 processor and connected by five LS10 plug-and-play, Avnu-certified AVB switches that integrate seamlessly within the L-Acoustics ecosystem and 14 fourteen LA12X amplified controllers power the K2 and subs, seven LA4X driving the Kara II and 5XT systems.

The new L-Acoustics system is well matched to the church’s performance needs, says Skylark AV project manager Steele “Ninja” Beaty. “They needed a concert-level PA system, and this is it.”

Meanwhile, the church also selected an L-Acoustics rig for its new 500-seat campus in Broken Arrow, OK, with an L/R system of comprise a left-right system of three A10 per side — two A10 Focus and one A10 Wide — with one KS21 sub flown behind each main array. These are buttressed by four Syva Low and four Syva subs, left-right A10 sidefill arrays an X8 centerfill — all powered via powered three LA4X and one LA12X.

“The Syva Lows were chosen due to the stage height — we only have 15 feet of trim height in that room,” Cromwell explains, adding that this project is being integrated by Tulsa-based DC Pro, which purchased the system design and components from Skylark AV.

Church on the Move