Product at Work: L-Acoustics KARAi
Jan 13, 2012 4:18 PM
One year ago this month, L-Acoustics debuted the KARA modular line source system to the US. The KARA is the successor to the company’s venerable dV-DOSC, which has a worldwide roster of installations, perhaps most famously as the voice of God in the Broadway hit The Book of Mormon. The KARA was designed for lighter weight, more maximum output, better horizontal dispersion (110 degrees full-bandwidth), 10 degrees of vertical dispersion (opposed to 7.5), and captive rigging system. Both KARA and KARAi use the same compression drivers as L-Acoustics K1, the company’s flagship large-format touring loudspeaker.
The KARAi differs primarily in its rigging, which for fixed installation can be a bolt-and-plate assembly—much less costly than the KARA’s quick-pin-release rigging that serves the rental and touring market.
The very first permanent installations of this product were in houses of worship—at Jesus House in the U.K. and at Christ Fellowship Gardens in Florida. Both midsized churches support highly contemporary concert-style programming. Just last month, the KARAi line also went into a very different type of church, a 50,000-square-foot facility where the intimacy and intelligibility of the pastor’s sermon needed to reach into every corner.
Jesus House is a 2,000 capacity church in North London owned by the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). Worship style is contemporary/gospel, and it was clear that the facility needed a concert-oriented system.
The integrator, SFL Group chose the system because as a bi-amped product, KARAi could keep up with what the programming demanded in terms of sound pressure levels. “lt has loads of high-frequency headroom, so even when the box is pushed hard, it maintains a high degree of clarity,” says technical director Mark Payne. Payne was also swayed by KARAi rigging.
The building—a warehouse conversion—has an audience area of approximately 80ft. wide by 200ft. deep, covered by a right/left system of six KARAi per side, powered by two LA8 amplified controllers, one for each hang. Four SB18i subwoofers per side are built into the stage, not to obscure the congregation perspective. Two12XTi coaxials act as front fill for the KARAi system, and three further 12XTis are flown at the back of the venue to cover a small balcony.
“It’s a very efficient system,” Payne says. “It has a huge amount of bass and high-frequency headroom for the client’s current requirements, but they’re a fast-growing organization and see themselves in this venue for five years maximum, so we needed a product that could be scaled up when necessary.”
“One just wonders how far it can go before it runs out of headroom” says Ayo Olunloyo, head of media at Jesus House. “The response from the congregation has been more than positive.”
Meanwhile, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Christ Fellowship Church took the first U.S. delivery of the KARAi and SB18i enclosures for it’s 2,200-seat flagship worship center (one of four campuses that serve 16,500 congetants).
Alan Jones of Pro Sound and Video’s Miami location helped facilitate the sale and installation of the new system, which featured the very first KARAi and SB18i. The system, designed in L-Acoustics SoundVision software, features three KARAi arrays flown in an LCR configuration (8+9+8 KARAi) concealed in soffits above the stage of the 2,200-seat octagonal sanctuary. Two four-box SB18i sub arrays, each arranged in a cardioid configuration providing focused low-frequency extension for the KARAi mains, are flown in the two spaces between the KARAi, and two SB28 subs are positioned on the floor beneath each KARAi array.
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