"Dave, can you come to Sioux Falls to help us with our sound system?"
Prior to that call, we had worked together with the Ransom Church for some add-on products and accessories, but the new tech director wanted to talk with us about systems, so that we'd have a better understand of their needs as the church grew.
A couple weeks later, I boarded a plane to Sioux Falls, SD. From the cool vibe of the concrete-floored welcome area, I walked into the back door of the worship space where the tech director explained that weekend attendance was growing (from 300 to 1400 in under a year) and that the tech systems were straining under the load.
As he walked me around, I saw a lighting system that was well done, along with the audio and the video systems – both of which were recently installed.
Frankly, I wondered why I was there.
After a few minutes, I asked what types of issues they had and if I could hear the system. In a nutshell, the church had plenty of equipment, but the audio system did not sound good.
The space was loft-like in nature, having been an old auto parts warehouse. The wood trusses acted like a low ceiling, and the worship space was very wide, so acoustic volume was high near the platform, but didn't carry well toward the back, corner and side seating areas. See "before" coverage map below. The difference between yellow and purple areas is about 10dB, an apparent halving of acoustic volume.
As we discovered, the previous choice of main speakers was not poor equipment, but simply the wrong equipment.
To solve the problem of uneven coverage and poor sound quality, we designed a solution based around the JBL VRX932LA line array, which gave us the coverage we needed for every seat. And we even reused the previous JBL AC series main speakers as outfills for the shallower seating areas to each side of the platform. The drawing below shows the VRX solution, without the proposed outfill boxes. Notice how "cool" the platform/stage area is with respect to not being covered by the system (this is good), and how much more even the coverage is overall.
In order to safely suspend the new JBL line arrays from 100-year-old wood roof trusses, we enlisted the team at Polar Focus to design a truss-based solution that spread out the load and that gave us safe suspension points for loudspeakers, and an additional mounting position for lighting.
In the end, we proposed three 2-speaker clusters of JBL VRX932LA, a pair of JBL ASB6128 dual 18" subwoofers, updated BSS system processing, appropriate power amplifiers, in-ear monitoring systems, personal mixing and a new Allen & Heath GLD80 mixing console. One of the reasons why the line arrays worked so well for The Ransom Church is that the output between the top and bottom boxes in the array can be controlled independently. That helps keep the coverage even from the front to the back of the room.
With our guidance and design assistance, the church tech team was able to install the new equipment themselves and is thrilled with the end result -- dramatically improved sound quality and coverage, reduced stage volume, and with all of the benefits of the new digital console.
Since that first project, the Ransom Church has enlisted us to help with design and integration of audio, video and lighting equipment for two new student ministry spaces, another time for their first multi-site portable audio, video and lighting system, and for a background music system in their welcome area.
And they've installed all of it themselves.
If you have questions, we have answers. And it might even work out that we can help you self-install the right solution successfully in your facility.