What started as a quest to replace the aging 15-year-old sound system at Atlanta’s Mount Paran Church, turned into a dramatic new creative sound system solution for the growing church’s Sunday services.
Pastor David Cooper of Mount Paran remarked that one of the key elements to providing a powerful worship service is having exceptional audio. So, when the church’s aging sound system started noticeably experiencing malfunctions, Mount Paran’s technical director, David Mendoza, began looking for viable solutions that would resonate with the church’s 13,000-plus-member congregation by providing intelligibility and exceptional sound. Cooper and Mendoza called upon leading church technology integrator, Diversified, a full-service system and media technology integration company, to aid in choosing and designing the new sound system. Tim Corder, strategic accounts director-house of worship for Diversified, studied the 2,400-seat sanctuary to identify the best audio system that would not impede sightlines to the new video upgrade of LED walls on either side of the stage, while still providing the high quality sound the church demanded.
After simulations of left/right array designs proved unsatisfying, the team consulted with Josh Maichele, house of worship applications engineer at L-Acoustics. Maichele recommended the new L-Acoustics medium-throw A Series loudspeakers, in particular, A15. The new A Series setup also allowed for the unique benefits of L-ISA immersive sound technology, marking this project an exciting first installation of its kind in North America.
Instead of the typical deployment of hanging speakers to the left and right of the stage, L-ISA installations feature speaker hangs across the stage, and if needed, on the sides, and at critical locations in the venue allowing to immerse and envelop the audience with sound.
“The L-ISA experience is achieved through the deployment of specially designed speakers and intuitive object-based sound mixing technology that allows engineers to handle components of the mix as sound objects and place them in a 3D space. This can be an incredibly powerful tool for the mix engineer; to make the sound in the room line-up with what is happening on stage. You quickly forget that you are listening to a sound system and become involved with the action or song,” Maichele comments.
Mount Paran’s new sound system comprises five arrays of four A Series medium-throw enclosures of two A15 Focus over two A15 Wide. Hangs were evenly spread and flown over the front of the stage as the basic “scene” system with two additional arrays of one A15 Focus over two A15 Wide at each side as the “extension” system. Dual hangs of two A15 Wide deliver outfill coverage to the far left and right front seating areas, while two rear-firing A15 Wide were strategically positioned above the stage to provide monitoring for 150 choir seats. Four KS28 subwoofers, concealed by a scrim, were flown behind the “scene” system for low-end reinforcement.
Frontfill is provided by six short-throw X8 enclosures deployed across the stage lip, along with four compact 5XT systems located at center stage for sermon monitoring. Farther out in the house, two A15 and eight ARCS Focus systems serve as the delay ring installed around the catwalk to cover the upper reaches of the balcony. Four locations of Kiva II long-throw modular line source systems provide outfill under the balcony. A combination of one LA12X and 13 LA4X amplified controllers supplies power and processing for the entire loudspeaker system, while an L-ISA Controller and Processor combo provide engineers with new panoramic, object-based mixing tools.
L-ISA technology was the perfect choice for the church’s architecture and made the system a viable, practical, and pleasantly budget-friendly option for Mount Paran. The ultimate design allowed the team to meet the fidelity and sightline goals, which were two major hurdles for the project. When they started mixing on the new system, L-ISA technology proved to offer a lot more than a traditional left/right system ever could.
Almost immediately, Mendoza and his team saw the benefits, “It’s not easy to put into words, but the system interacts with the room. We can use it like a creative brush in the engineer’s hands. Where we were doing damage control before, now we think about tone shaping and location of sound in the room. The system creates a depth that we can control. For example, we can create a sound image for a peak section of a song, creating a moment for the congregation, and then put them back. It’s like having a pan control for width, distance, and elevation. The amount of control that the engineer has with L-ISA and the impact on the music is nothing short of astonishing.”
To read more about Mount Paran’s fascinating L-ISA technology using A Series speakers, read the full article in Church Production Magazine.