Installation: Christian Revival Church South Africa
The Christian Revival Church (CRC) calls itself 'one church in many locations.' Indeed, CRC has seven branches all over South Africa including Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Welkom, George, Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo and has seen substantial growth over the past 20 years since its establishment.
The Christian Revival Church's senior pastors At and Nyretta Boshoff founded the house of worship in 1994 in Ladybrand and it has flourished from its humble beginnings there into several large congregations, culminating in their latest building, CRC Pretoria; a 7 000-seater sanctuary auditorium.
CRC Pretoria was established in 2004; starting off in a school hall and later moving into a 2 500-seater tent auditorium. Through hard work and an ardent 'debt-free' ethos, the Boshoffs set their goals on building the state-of-the-art CRC Pretoria auditorium that was finally completed in February 2014 after breaking ground in 2012.
A large part of building a state-of-the-art auditorium is sourcing and installing state-of-the-art audio, lighting, and audio visual equipment. Churches all over the world are following this trend not only to make the experience for church-goers more exciting and engaging, but to make sure the message is broadcast clearly and effectively.
Bringing a twist of practicality to an installation of this nature is the fact that while church services and activities happen quite regularly, much of the time the auditorium is left unused. For this reason, one of the main points of the client brief was to create a venue that was capable of being utilised by third parties for large events when the church was not using it for its own activities.
What this means is installing top-shelf equipment and in order to do that you need the help of local distributors and installers that carry premium brands that not only local professionals are familiar with, but potential international guests as well.
The audio system at CRC is exclusively L-ACOUSTICS (apart from various stage monitors held over from previous installation) supplied and installed by local distributors Sound Harmonics under the auspices of co-director Joseph Mandy.
"CRC required a world class sound system that would cover all of the church's requirements, from their usual services, to youth services, church conventions such as the annual 'Dream Week' and potential internal church productions of a theatrical nature," says Mandy. "The system coverage needs to be even throughout the venue and be able to produce a high SPL when required."
Jean Kruger is sound and maintenance manager at the mother congregation in Bloemfontein and he had a big hand in the appointment of Sound Harmonics for the project.
On how they were introduced he says: "Gearhouse did a massive CC Winans tour and (at the time) we were looking to update our PA system in Bloemfontein. They stopped off in Bloem where Jaco de Witt set up the system and we were so impressed with how it sounded that I went looking for the supplier of L-ACOUSTICS. Long story short, we installed a DV-DOSC system identical to what was used at the concert and we have been happy ever since. We also have international artists come through like Hillsong United, Israel Houghton, Pianet Shakers and the Parachute Band. When they hear it is an L-ACOUSTICS system they are usually happy to work on it."
Resultantly, a multi-hang KARAi system was finally decided upon and installed for maximum coverage of the large 7 000-seater hall that includes a massive, semi-circular floor seating area and a sizeable balcony.
Both the main PA and the delay hangs consist of KARAi elements. KARAi is the installation version of the KARA touring system and includes the M-BUMP/M-BUMPiW rigging structures.
The main left and right hangs which cover the main downstairs section consist of nine KARAi cabinets a side with four SB18i subwoofers flown per side in a cardiod configuration. The system was set up with a four-way crossover. A further two SB28 dual 18' subwoofers a side were ground stacked.
For the delay hangs, four arrays of four KARAi cabinets were positioned to cover the balcony area. As Richard Smith, co-creator at Sound Harmonics says: "This allows for fantastic stereo imaging upstairs."
For additional fill, a variety of constant curvature and coaxial L-ACOUSTICS loudspeakers were placed throughout the auditorium. Two arrays a side of dual ARCS Focus cabinets were flown vertically to cover the side raised seating area. A further six 8XTi coaxial enclosures were mounted into the front of the curved wall of the stage for coverage of the front rows.
Finally, four 12XT floor wedge monitors were supplied for Pastor At.
All amplifiers supplied to CRC Pretoria were L-ACOUSTICS. A combination of LA8 and LA4 amplified controllers were installed and networked to allow L-ACOUSTICS' L-NET amplifier network to provide control and monitoring of the system via LA NETWORK MANAGER software. The feeds to the amps are both analogue and digital on the AES/EBU protocol with analogue fallback redundancy should the digital inputs fail.
When asked how he felt about the end result of the installation Kruger says: “There are many good brands out there but L-ACOUSTICS was the one that ticked all the boxes for us and the good support we receive from Sound Harmonics is the best part of it. Sound Harmonics installed what they promised when the promised regardless of many challenges that they were faced with and we are very happy with the install and service we were given. It is a top quality installation and I am very happy with the products they supplied."
Getting into the console side, a total of three DiGiCo consoles were supplied to the church through local distributors Tadco with the installation being overseen by Kyle Robson, operational support manager. FOH received an SD10 while monitor world and the broadcast suite each received an SD8. A single SD-Rack was supplied to act as the central input capture and distribution point with FOH retaining full redundancy while all of the other consoles feed off of the auxiliary MADI ports. There were challenges, however.
"It's great to see three consoles feeding off of one rack have independent control,” says Robson. "However, a problem we faced was with the monitor outputs. They client needed 12 mixes but the consoles only offer eight on-board outputs. The solution was running the fifth BNC to FOH from the second MADI output on the SD8 monitor console into the second MADI input on the FOH console and using one of the new tools on the latest update, Copy Audio. We were able to route what was being sent to us from the monitor console directly to the outputs of the rack without having to bring them up on the FOH console surface. The SD-Rack has 32 analogue outputs which can be accessed by FOH and monitors."
On the broadcast end, feeding the monitor and FOH consoles with live feeds from outside services was the goal. Robson achieved this by running a BNC out of the broadcast console. The feeds were then routed back out to FOH in the same way he described the monitor dilemma, the only difference being FOH would simply patch that feed onto their surface.
What more can be said? A lot of work and tech went into CRC Pretoria. In fact, there's more to report on that we just don't have space for. But what is clear is that not only the best was good enough for CRC and very little compromises were made. If you ever have the pleasure of visiting the church you'll get a great idea of exactly what South African technical supply and installation companies are capable of and I'm sure you'll come to the same conclusion we did: excellence.
Article excerpt courtesy of Pro Systems, click here for the full article.