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Megachurch Audio Upgrade, Part 1

Jun 3, 2010 12:09 PM, By Bennett Liles

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OK, I know that a lot of time passed between the original installation and the upgrade and the technology had time to march on. What did the church figure they needed in the way of an improvement to the sound of their services?
Roggow: Primarily they were looking for more output, more level from the system. Those Super Duals sonic lead frequency response are very, very good. They do have limits as far as how loud they can get. They really don’t really like to operate much over maybe 100 or 105 at the top end. And just more or less by the feature, they are designed not having any kind of waveguides and such. The church had began to see it as a change in their worship style being yet even more contemporary, more guitar-driven and felt like they were getting to the end of the SPL limitations of the sound system, so they were looking for more head room. [Timestamp: 7:35]

And why did you choose the VQ series speakers for this? Had you used those before?
Roggow: Yes, we had used them in just a few other smaller installations. It is a brand-new series that Tannoy has introduced just in the last few years. It’s an answer to some these similar types of requests for more output. So we chose them, obviously, because of the frequency response, efficiency, and also, in this particular case, it was a very, very easy installation in the sense that we didn’t have to change out the DSP or the number of crossover bands and amplifiers—everything could pretty much stay in place, and physically the devices are similar in size and coverage as well so many of the factors where you could just do a, more or less, a plug and play were present and so we were able to do a fairly quick, low-cost turnkey installation and get them at least a 10DV bar output system for quite a low cost. [Timestamp: 8:45]

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Megachurch Audio Upgrade, Part 2
Michael Garrison Associations upgrades megachurch audio....

Yeah, that’s a huge basic advantage when you’ve already put in the first system, so you already know where everything is and how it’s been done. This is a big place. What kind of throw distance have you got between the catwalk speakers to the nearest seats?
Roggow: I am estimating about 28ft. from the front row to the bottom of the catwalk so it’s moderate, not too far but the mixed position. I believe, [it] is around 60 to 65ft. off the center line. Really it’s very much just a rectangle, and the way the speakers are oriented it tracks the seating. It’s definitely a challenge from a coverage standpoint, but the system is, on the average, to the closest seating about 28ft. to the front rows. [Timestamp: 9:33]

Steve, what kind of amplifiers are they using in there?
Shewlakow: Well, we actually were able to use the existing amplifiers that we had put in at the original install and those were two QSC CCX series amplifiers except for on the subs, which we used their PL series. And we actually upgraded to the PL, I believe it’s the PL380 for the subwoofers. They actually went in very easily. We didn’t really have to do any rewiring since basically everything laid out on one to one for what the old system was. [Timestamp: 10:02]

In some of the stories I’ve read on this line arrays were mentioned. Were line arrays considered for this job?
Roggow: It probably didn’t go too far down that path considering the church was in a very limited budget. It was something they were trying to work into a yearly capital, not making it a special budgetary request, and we knew pretty much that if there was going to be line arrays it would require, obviously, the loudspeakers and amplification and likely DSP as well so the cost difference between an doing something like this would have been 5 to 6 times greater to look at even a compact type of line array system, so I think that was primarily where it started in regards to us choosing this path. Something else that you can maybe add to that Michael? [Timestamp: 10:49]

Garrison: The only other thing: Certainly line array was considered because it’s the buzz of the industry these days, but in this particular case, they have large front projection screens. They were too large to have space behind in the original construction for rear projection, so it would be a real tough trick to add a line array into this facility without blowing up the image display system. You would be hanging speakers in front of projectors. [Timestamp: 11:15]

You had some differences in the spacing between the speakers, I think, with the upgrade than you did in the new one. What did you do that was new with the spacing Steve?
Shewlakow: Well, in the original system, the mono system with the center cluster was a little bit more tight packed, and when we went to replace the system—when Brian and I were talking and the modeling was done—we actually decided that we were going to move the side mono speakers out a bit and make it more of an exploded array, and we were able to get a little bit better coverage off to the side and stuff like that with that and then we also shifted the stereo speakers just slightly to give us more of an even spacing all the way across so that it had a more unified feel as you were going through the different zones. [Timestamp: 11:58]

Yeah, did you originally have some rises and dips in the frequency response as you went across the room?
Roggow: There were definitely some challenges in trying to keep an especially low frequency response consistent out to the seating area since the seats don’t track the stage. It’s really just a straight long, frontal proscenium opening, but the seats are curved. You’ve got the gym-style opening, if you will. It is all straight, and so it’s a bit challenging to keep it consistent across the whole front, but also I think one thing as we evolved and MGA evolves through time and how we approach different system designs there’s what I call a “bull-nose”. It’s built into the center soffit area where the loudspeakers, the center loudspeakers, were originally placed, and I think we’ve found even over time as we put more of these kinds of exploded arrays systems in that perhaps that the center mounting of the loudspeakers of this type just didn’t work quite as well. Although both systems worked well, the VQ system is more consistent from side to side. That’s the biggest challenge, I think, in this space isn’t so much from front to back but it’s the width of the seating area. It’s very, very challenging. [Timestamp: 13:22]

All right, thanks very much guys for being here for part one Brian, Steve, and Michael, and in part two we can get into the subwoofers and a little bit about what they’re doing with live music at Southland Christian Church, but for now thanks for being here for part one.

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