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Product at Work: L-Acoustics KARAi

Jan 13, 2012 4:18 PM


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New Life Community Church

At New Life Community Church, two arrays of four KARAi enclosures fly above the left and right sides of the stage with a single 12XTi per side. Four SB18i subs are built into the front of the stage.

The church also is using a number of L-Acoustics’ coaxial enclosures, including one 115XT HiQ flown per side to provide extreme left and right downfill, plus seven 8XTi mounted to the front of the stage, below the stage lip, for frontfill. The entire loudspeaker complement is powered by a combination of LA8 and LA4 amplified controllers equipped with LA-AES3 (AES/EBU) cards for digital signal distribution.

Danny Dagher, senior audio engineer at Christ Fellowship Gardens, notes that the church essentially drove the specification for the L-Acoustics system. “We invited four respected loudspeaker manufacturers to come participate in a comparative listening test to help us discern which system would be the best solution for our room,” Dagher says. “So we brought in our entire worship and media staff—there were more than 30 of us critically listening to the shootout—and we unanimously came to the consensus that KARAi was the right box.”

“Our previous house system was an exploded mono cluster design, which was a comb-filtering nightmare,” says tech Travis Groat. “So to go from that to L-Acoustics has been absolutely shocking. The intelligibility of KARAi is breathtakingly clean, but without the fatiguing sterile harshness that one can experience on other PAs. “I think the greatest thing I can say about this system is that whatever comes through it simply sounds like the source; it’s exactly like listening to a pair of high-end studio reference monitors.”

Message-driven Sound

In moving to a new 50,000-square-foot home, New Life Community Church of Oxnard, Calif., didn’t want to lose the core of their mission: inspiration communication.

“Although everyone loves music, the single most important element of a worship service is the spoken word,” says Richard Rutherford, VP at Rutherford Design in Northridge, Calif., who specified the system. “When designing a sound system, I jokingly tell pastors that I’m not concerned about the people in the front seats because they’ll be here next week no matter what. My goal is to help the pastor deliver his message in an intimate way to what might normally be viewed as the worst seats in the house—the ones at the back and far sides—because those will usually be where first-time visitors will sit. The pastor has to be able to communicate to them as if they’re sitting on the front row; it has to be an excellent experience for them.”

Collaboratively designed by Rutherford and L-Acoustics’ Dan Palmer, the system’s integration was chiefly coordinated by Rutherford Design field technician Andrew Bacon and David Myers, director of installations for Rat Sound Systems, which also provided the sale of the system.

As with most churches, the heart of New Life’s facility is its sanctuary, which seats a little less than 1,000 people—making it one of the city’s largest auditoriums. Arrays of four KARAi enclosures flown above the left and right sides of the wide stage deliver the primary house coverage with a single 12XTi per side to address the extreme left and right seating areas.

A total of four SB18i subwoofers built into the front of the stage provide the room’s low-frequency reinforcement. Each sub position is also equipped with a single 8XTi to bring the sound image down to the stage for the first few rows. All of the L-Acoustics loudspeakers are powered and processed by three LA8 and one LA4 amplified controllers housed in a 42RU rack at stage left.

The church got what they were looking for in terms of speech intelligibility, though Rutherford also considered KARAi’s suitability for music reinforcement. “I’m a big believer in headroom,” he says “ I’d rather provide 30 extra decibels that a church might never use instead of having them wish for six more they simply don’t have. On paper, a smaller system—such as L-Acroustics’ Kiva—could have done more than enough for the room, but the KARAi offered that extra 15dB at the back of the room that filled the space with a much bigger, in-your-face sound should they ever need it. Having that level of impact and intelligibility be omnipresent throughout the entire room really draws people into the worship experience so much more.”



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