Sound for 30,000 at Graha Bethany Nginden
Article kindly provided by Worship-AVL-Asia. Article by Barney Jameson.
It is no small compliment to L-Acoustics, therefore, that the church has now found that system in the shape of K1, the French manufacturer’s flagship line source technology, plus a wealth of loudspeaker enclosures that touches on almost every page of the L-Acoustics catalogue. Following a major installation by Jakarta-based installation specialist Tri Tunggal Abadi, the megachurch now possesses one of the finest front of house reinforcement designs in Asia. ‘The church needed a new system because their old installation was already around 11 years old,’ explains Tri Tunggal Abadi’s Andre Bonang. ‘They also had some problems with their old system that couldn’t cover the whole audience area nicely. We enjoyed a long relationship with the church before we took on this project at Graha Bethany Nginden – we have already installed systems into their two others churches. The first one was Bethany Manyar, using L-Acoustics dV-Dosc, and the second was Bethany Suko Manunggal, using Kudo.’ He adds: ‘Bethany church only wants to use the best systems in the world that are available right now. Before they made the decision to install K1, members of the Music Department, led by the head of music Canessa Christian Lawanto, listened to a variety of systems hung side-by-side. They ultimately chose L-Acoustics because of the quality.’
Tri Tunggal Abadi swiftly set about the project, working in close collaboration with members of the L-Acoustics team. Among the earliest visitors was Michel Brouard, L-Acoustics sales manager for Asia, who fondly recalls stepping inside Graha Bethany Nginden for the first time. ‘My first visit to Surabaya was really amazing,’ he remembers. ‘It was a privilege to visit such a unique house of worship and to be welcomed and informed about the project by pastor Tanuseputra and music director Canessa Christian Lawanto.’ Mr Brouard was soon followed by the manufacturer’s tech support engineer Germain Simon, plus head of installation support Cedric Montrézor, who carried out an acoustic simulation using the French company’s proprietary SoundVision software. ‘This was a very interesting installation as it dealt with almost all of our product lines, with different purposes for each of them,’ explains Mr Simon, who tuned the system. ‘The large, architecturally complex venue restricted the location of different clusters due to its many pillars. We spent time prioritising the best location for each part of the system with the right orientation, levels and delay.
Then we worked on fine-tuning, experimenting until we found the most appropriate contour for the type of music and preferences of the church followers.’ ‘We worked very closely with the L-Acoustics engineers at that time,’ agrees Mr Bonang. ‘They really helped a lot, staying in Surabaya for nine days. We were all working together – the L-Acoustics team and the Bethany Team under Mr Canessa, and the Tri Tunggal Abadi team under me.’ He adds: ‘We had to finish the installation in only six days because the church was still doing Sunday services, while on Thursday we couldn’t work because of morning and night-time prayers.’
But even with the tight schedule, the biggest challenges were still presented by the building itself. ‘The acoustics of the room are not so good, and the dimensions are very big – it’s very wide with a lot of pillars all around the area.
There are also three levels, so it was challenging. ‘But the biggest difficulties were presented by the structure from which we were suspending the K1, because the building is relatively old, it was built in 1987. At that time the technology used to construct the roof’s space frame was not as advanced as it is now, so we had to make a new structure to hang the K1 and reinforce the space frame.’
Finally, the system had to deliver a performance of two extremes. According to the specification document drawn up by L-Acoustics, the installation was primarily intended to ‘support the natural sound radiated by the performers on stage, allowing for better definition and clarity for the furthest members of the audience and to supply reinforcement to those seated on the upper levels for all speech’. For more dramatic musical performances, however, the system also had to ‘produce a very high SPL with a reinforced contour’.
The completed solution consists of two L-R hangs of 12 K1 WST line source enclosures hung 13.5m above the stage height. Six K1-SB and six SB28 subwoofers run in cardioid mode provide low-end support, with two clusters of four Kara boxes delivering stereo in-fill, a further two clusters of four Kara boxes used for out-fill, and four Arcs cabinets for front-fill. Moving out from the stage, five hangs of two Kara boxes are positioned as the first set of under-balcony delays, alongside four hangs of two 12XTi coaxials. The second balcony is served by four hangs of three Kiva cabinets. Driving the entire installation are 35 LA4 and LA8 amplified controllers. Additionally, three Kiva enclosures and a Kilo cover an on-stage VIP section, whilst four 115 XT HiQ coaxials driven by an LA8 amplified controller provide the pastor’s main monitor system. Finally, a pair of 112Ps are used for both side-fill and choir monitors.
‘This project was very important for Tri Tunggal Abadi – it has become our benchmark,’ Mr Bonang proudly explains. ‘We are very happy and very proud. The founders of Bethany church, pastor Alex Tanuseputra and pastor Aswin Tanuseputera, and Mr Canessa are very happy with the results. The system can cover the whole area with the same sound quality and at the same level.’
Most importantly, the K1 system has conquered the problematic acoustic properties of the dome, blessing Graha Bethany Nginden with an audio installation every bit as impressive as the church it serves.