Port St. Lucie church’s design team and Mankin Media approach audio and room design in tandem to optimize results and engagement
With eight locations spread across southeastern Florida, Christ Fellowship Church is a vibrant faith community that has installed L-Acoustics sound reinforcement systems in a number of its worship spaces over the years. However, when systems integrator Mankin Media was recently brought onboard to design and implement a PA at the campus in Port St. Lucie—a rapidly growing area north of Palm Beach—the approach was different at the most foundational level: it started with the specification of an L-Acoustics K2 system, which then influenced how the room would be designed.
“Anyone who designs and installs audio systems for enclosed spaces knows that there are always going to be acoustic challenges that go along with the room; it’s just the nature of live audio,” says Christ Fellowship Audio Director Danny Dagher. “Mankin helped us turn the typical house of worship audio installation on its head in a lot of ways. Where we would normally be moving PA elements around to make up for pre-existing acoustical issues within the room, in this case, we were able to make revisions to seating layout and even wall placement during the building design phase so that the room would best support the PA.”
Key to that was the collaborative use of L-Acoustics’ Soundvision 3D acoustic modeling software by the church, construction team and Mankin engineers during the room design process. “The ability for Soundvision to interface into that process makes it much faster to marry loudspeaker coverage to architectural details as they are developed and adjusted, as well as being critical to ensuring there are no surprises when it comes to coordination with theatrical lighting and very large LED video canvases,” notes Mankin Media Systems Senior Solutions Advisor Tim Corder.
Dagher confirms that Christ Fellowship Church has been using L-Acoustics products exclusively in all of its spaces on all of its campuses since 2010, “So it was just a question of finding the best fit for what we were trying to achieve at the Port St. Lucie campus,” he says. Although smaller systems like Kara, Kiva II, ARCS WiFo and ARCS II have been utilized on prior CFC projects, Port St. Lucie was the first site to specify a larger K2 rig for its 1,900-seat worship space, an ideal solution that Dagher notes “became obvious fairly quickly” in Soundvision.
“Mankin and Christ Fellowship both adhere to the value that the best sound comes from the least number of sources,” Corder describes. “The variable horizontal coverage provided by K2’s PANFLEX technology allowed its coverage to tailor to the seating layout in a way that was impossible with other boxes that were considered, minimizing the need for delay and fill loudspeakers. Larger low-frequency drivers in the main arrays contributed to more overall low- and mid-frequency impact than has been possible with other systems deployed at Christ Fellowship. And K2’s ability to maintain the exact same feel in the mix regardless of the overall volume is critical with program content that regularly exhibits 30+ dB of dynamic range from the loudest musical peaks to the quietest whispers of a lone communicator wearing a headset microphone on stage.”
The Port St. Lucie install features 20 K2 and four ARCS II arrays supported by 10 K1-SB and four KS28 subs. Designing the system and the room as two parts of one audio “whole” meant that considerably fewer fill speakers were needed; just one X15, two X12 and seven X8 coaxial enclosures provide the perfect complement to the main K2 system. Thirteen LA12X and a pair of LA4X amplified controllers power the entire system.
“Audio of the highest quality is the most important value to live production at Christ Fellowship,” says Corder. “The church goes to great lengths to create a detailed musical mix and it only made sense to prioritize the loudspeaker system in the overall project budget to ensure the highest quality of presentation to the room. There is a certain ‘X factor’ with K2 that has made it one of the most popular loudspeakers in the world, and this room confirms the magic that this PA brings to live presentations!
“The range of L-Acoustics products and the consistent sonic signature across that range have allowed us to deliver a high-level audio experience for Christ Fellowship and others,” he continues. “The power and coverage potential paired with the software tools that L-Acoustics offers, plus a client that was willing to take a different approach, allowed us to start with the PA and kind of work backwards to get an audio experience that is just more alive and dynamic than we could ever achieve with other, more traditional, approaches.”
“This was our first project with Mankin Media, and they were able to really understand and act on our desire for an audio experience that is best described as ‘engaging.’ No room is perfect, but the combination of the room design and the K2 is a great balance where the PA is supporting the room and the room is supporting the PA.”
“This all comes back to the support of Christ Fellowship’s senior leadership,” Corder adds. “They value great audio and were willing to take this road less traveled along with Mankin and L-Acoustics to create what is really an ideal worship environment.”