For over 80 years, the Christian Life Center (CLC) of Port Orchard has been a fixture on Washington’s Kitsap County. Very much a multi-purpose worship space, in addition to their own services, praise concerts and old-fashioned hymn nights, CLC also functions as a center for community events; hosting evangelical community outreach efforts such as their regular August Cruisin’ Sunday car show and food drive, local police awards ceremonies, as well as various pageants, dinners and guest speakers.
Over time, as their ministry has expanded and their worship has become ever more contemporary, CLC began to take stock of their existing A/V infrastructure with an eye to better serving their growing congregation by updating their systems. Initially their attention was centered primarily on their video infrastructure, explains Chad Rose of Poulsbo A/V design/build firm, Rose Media. Since Rose’s original discussions with CLC roughly three years ago, however, the church began to realize that it was their audio system that needed the most attention.
Part of one of the largest network of Pentecostal congregations in the world, CLC serves both the spiritual and worldly needs of its congregation by placing an emphasis on developing and maintaining strong relationships with God and members of the community at large. In any relationship transparent communication is key and in a congregation that hovers between 700 and 800 people on any given weekend, maintaining that relationship can be difficult if people can’t make out what others are saying. “Clarity of sound and not being able to hear was becoming an issue during services,” Rose says, “so audio quickly rose to the forefront as the priority when funds became available.”
Designed and installed by Rose and completed in September 2010, the systems specified for the CLC do include some video upgrades, but Rose’s primary focus was a comprehensive overhaul of the audio infrastructure in the CLC’s main auditorium, and the installation of a system featuring key components by Tannoy and Lab.gruppen.
Founded in 2005, Rose Media specializes in the installation of A/V systems for house of worship and educational applications. But while Rose’s firm has specified Tannoy product for distributed audio applications previously, this was his first use of the product in this type of application, and his first experience with the Tannoy VQNET line of full range loudspeakers.
One of the reasons Rose chose Tannoy VQNET 60s for the project was the requirement for a loudspeaker that offered both highly intelligible reinforcement of speech as well as clear, detailed and distinctly musical reinforcement of live and recorded music. With a decidedly contemporary music program, often featuring various incarnations of full electric praise bands and an acoustically demanding environment, achieving that was not without its challenges.
“The room is a big rectangular box with lots of reflective surfaces,” Rose says, adding that no acoustic treatments were installed when it was first built. “Even when you don’t have the sound on and you’re just talking to someone, the room is very live – so to find a speaker system that could perform well in there was challenging.” As was finding a place to put them, he adds. “There aren’t many rigging points in the ceiling – it’s not designed to support external weight.” As a result Rose called in the structural engineer who had worked on the original construction to source out just where they could hang the speakers.
“We kind of knew what we wanted based on other churches,” puts in CLC media director, Larry Rubio, who has been volunteering at the church for the past 25 years. “We wanted to get away from the mono sound of the previous system and to reach the corners of the sanctuary. To have good sound throughout, rather than in just one section.” Finding a way to achieve their vision, however, given both the lack of acoustic treatments and limited rigging points was unclear until Rose introduced the VQNET 60’s into the mix.
The CLC had other goals as well, Rose explains. Among them, making lower stage volumes possible for performers and enhancing their technician’s ability to reconfigure the system for different applications easily. But, first and foremost, they required dramatically improved intelligibility and coverage. “That’s why Tannoy was chosen. It had the most accurate coverage and was still intelligible at a high SPL.”
To meet their needs, Rose’s design departed from the pre-existing system’s configuration immediately. “The original system was a mono cluster and didn’t include any low end support,” he says. “Also, the side seating sections of the room weren’t covered by the system, so by putting in an expanded LCR system we were able to get more coverage on the sides and provide a little bit of a stereo field.”
The mains consist of four Tannoy VQNET 60s – two mounted in the center of the stage directly in front of the auditorium’s wooden proscenium, and one 15-feet to each side of that center cluster, just above the edges of the roughly 40-foot x 26-foot stage. “For optimum coverage of the side seating sections the system is configured in stereo and utilizes cross matrixed, delayed feeds of the left and right channels in the center cluster,” Rose explains.
Low frequency reinforcement is provided by four OAP Audio TR-218 dual 18-inch subs flown to the left and right of the outer Tannoy VQNET 60s, placed just above the church’s two video screens. “Tannoy would have been our first choice,” says Rose, explaining that the choice of the OAP product was motivated purely by budget considerations.
Control over the mains and over eight Aviom personal monitor stations onstage is provided by a Yamaha M7CL 48 Channel Digital Console with an Aviom card installed. An additional Yamaha O1V console in the facility’s dedicated broadcast booth is also connected to the front of house console.
DSP is provided via the VQNET 60’s onboard signal processing. “The whole system is on VNET,” Rose says. “There’s a VNET controller for the subs and a VNET interface at front of house. So for ongoing maintenance you can just plug into the USB port, log on and change settings.”
One Lab.gruppen C Series C 88:4 amplifier is located in the same pre-existing forty-space rack as the VNET Controller and powers the passive subs. Because of the choice of Lab.gruppen, however, that rack looks far emptier than it once did. “The old system had a total of nine amps for the center cluster – so we went from nine amps to one that puts out 2100 Watts per sub. With the system being largely self-powered it worked well to have one single amplifier that can perform like two or three.”
“It also worked well to have the tight pattern of the VQ speakers,” he adds. While he’d heard good things about the boxes from friends prior to specifying them, before deciding on Tannoy Rose tried several other products in EASE models. “We tried a couple of line array options, but line arrays wouldn’t have performed well in the space. Also I’d have to have a really wide array to cover the room, and then we’d be getting a lot of reflections off the side walls.”
Overall, the compact Tannoy VQNET 60s simply outpaced the competition, putting out more SPL with fewer boxes. “As far as modeling goes, they performed a lot better than the other options and the price point was also good compared to other products. They really perform like a line array in a box. It’s amazing how accurate and precise the coverage is.”
Beyond that, Rose says, “The system really fun to listen to music on. Once we got it in the air I dialed it in, sat and listened – just by myself – and they sound really nice, like studio monitors.”
High praise, but based on something Rose noticed while listening to a track on the system that he’d heard many times before, Lady Antebellum’s ‘Need You Now’. “It was crazy. I’d never noticed that there’s this whole telephone conversation at the beginning. I’d just never heard it, but it goes through the whole introduction and it was like ‘wow, that’s actually there’. The same experience I’ve had with studio monitors.”
Most importantly, the church is more than satisfied with the system. While there was a lot to accomplish when they started, they’ve now got a lot to be happy about. “It’s a big difference from where we came from,” says Rubio.