Covenant Church Commits To L-Acoustics K2
Dallas-based HOW now standardizing on L-Acoustics systems for all locations due to manufacturer’s pristine sound quality and sterling customer service
DALLAS, Texas - August 2016 -- When a large house of worship organization installs a concert-sized PA rig, it’s news. But in the case of Dallas-based Covenant Church the interesting part goes well past just the install of a new L-Acoustics K2 system. It is a story five years and five church campuses in the making that involved three different speaker manufacturers.
The Carrollton campus of Covenant is its primary location, which includes a 1,850-seat auditorium that regularly plays host to the A-list of contemporary Christian artists, including Kari Jobe and Jesus Culture. But Covenant has four other campuses spread across two states, and the others have been all L-Acoustics for some time. So how did the main location finally catch up with the satellites? As is so often true in the live audio world—both in and out of the HOW market—it was about customer service and relationships, at least as much as it was about sound quality.
“All of our campuses used powered speakers from another US-based manufacturer for a long time,” says Covenant Church Media Director Slade Goplin. “But we started having issues with them failing. A lot of them. And they were all failing for the exact same reason. I called their corporate HQ, got a service rep, asked for his manager and then asked for the next person’s manager. After being transferred four or five times, I finally got to someone with some clout.
“I explained what was happening and emphasized that we had spent north of $100,000 with them in the past few years. He asked how old the speakers were, and I told him they were between two and four years old. And his reply was, ‘Yeah, they’ll do that.’ No offer of any kind to make it right, and on top of that, we sometimes waited months for repairs and replacements.”
So, as Covenant expanded, they started looking for a different vendor. Goplin reports that they contacted two different companies based on what they had heard at other churches and by reputation. Only one ever even returned the call.
“Right from the beginning, the L-Acoustics team was great,” Goplin remembers. “They flew us out to California and demoed Kara, their newest system at the time, and really explained the approach and technology. We were sold right away.”
As Covenant has continued to expand, they have done so with all L-Acoustics systems—a mixture of Kara, Kiva and ARCS WiFo systems as appropriate to the size and mission of each location. Meanwhile, the main campus system languished.
“We had a great reputation with a lot of the big artists. When many of them tour, their stop in the Dallas area will be Covenant. We had a great console—an Avid D-Show—great mics and video, and a great crew, but we did not have a great PA. Now we do.”
When plans for the upgrade of the Carrollton location began, Goplin and his crew were already deep into the worlds of Kara and Kiva, and considered a Kara rig. “But we had heard rumors of the K2, so we waited.” He is glad they did.
The system, as installed, is as large as many touring concert rigs. In total, the church is using 18 K2, six SB28 subs, a pair of ARCS Wide for fill and eight X8 front fills. The system, provided by Onstage Systems, is powered by six LA8 amplified controllers, plus a pair of LA4X for the front fills.
Given the experience with service with their former vendor, plus one company never even calling them back when they were looking to buy, service and relationships are paramount for Goplin and his crew, including Head of Audio Daniel Sposato.
“When we buy a new system for one of our rooms, L-Acoustics sends someone out to do training for a day,” Goplin notes. “And we have been able to keep them for a second day, going to one or two of the other campuses and kind of revisiting those rooms to see if tweaks were needed. Even though in some cases these are four- and five-year-old installs, and we are not looking to buy anything for that room, they help us keep those systems operating in the best way possible. That kind of service is something you can’t put a price on.
“I can’t think of another company where I can work directly with designers and engineers or whoever I need. No matter what kind of question I have, big or small, they always answer the phone and get me to someone who can give me an answer.”
While Goplin is media director now and has his hands in every aspect of production on all of the campuses, he was originally an audio guy and has a deep appreciation for how much the right system for the room means for a venue—especially when it comes to visiting artists.
“Our main auditorium is kind of an awkward room with balconies. With the new system I really wanted something where the line arrays covered everything really well so we didn’t have to use a bunch of delays like we had in the past. The K2s cover everything—the balconies, the back of the room, the front of the room, everything.”
L-Acoustics’ K2 provided the perfect mix of coverage and intelligibility—two must-haves for a house of worship setting—and plenty of horsepower.
“The K2s can get up and go,” Goplin adds. “Especially when we do conferences, we run as loud as any rock show. We needed a system that could do regular services, but also get up and run when we needed it to. And we definitely have that capability with the K2s.”