LAS VEGAS, NV-Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas is a congregation mushrooming in size in America's fastest-growing city, so it's no surprise to find the church in the midst of a major facilities expansion program. By the middle of 2007, for example, the main worship auditorium will be expanded to more than double its present size. Part of the plan calls for installation of a 40-cabinet self-powered Meyer Sound system, with MICA compact high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers as the keystone element.
Canyon Ridge Christian Church is in the midst of an expansion that includes a number of sound elements from Meyer Sound.
As it turns out, that long-planned installation will be "step two" of the MICA-based system. The first step arrived, somewhat unexpectedly, earlier this year.
"The church's original sound system, which was almost 10 years old, suddenly reached the end of its rope," said Adam Ogden, technical director at Canyon Ridge. "When some major components died, we decided not to patch it up. Instead, we went ahead and bought part of the proposed MICA system, and simply scaled the arrays to fit our present size."
With a seating capacity of about 1,250, the current worship auditorium now benefits from sound provided by left and right arrays of five MICA cabinets each. Sub-bass pumps out of twin floor-standing 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofers, while an LD-3 compensating line driver takes care of the system drive processing. The interim upgrade also included a DiGiCo D1 Live digital console. The systems were supplied and engineered by Ford Audio/Video, with logistical coordination by Kevin Potts and project engineering by Jason White, both of the Las Vegas office.
"Even though it's an interim system, it works extremely well," remarked Potts. "The MICA array is perfect for this room, primarily because it spreads out the highs evenly over such a wide angle."
Ogden immediately noted the improvements. "The clarity is remarkable, with every voice and instrument individualized," he observed. "You hear every nuance of the piano, the attack of the acoustic guitar strings, subtle things from the drummer-everything has its own space, but it's easy to balance and blend in the mix."
Canyon Ridge's "step one" system gives the church a head start on the larger system, which will be scaled to cover a room with a maximum capacity of 2,790. The church's ambitious expansion plans had been in the works since early 2003, with the Dallas-based consulting firm of Acoustic Dimensions brought on board to design the AV systems. Several preliminary proposals were already under consideration when Ogden was hired as technical director later that same year.
"Soon after I arrived, the expansion program was put on hold for a year, and that gave us a chance to evaluate all our options," recalled Ogden. "Being in Las Vegas, I took the opportunity to listen to some Meyer Sound systems, and I took a technical tour of the system at the Colosseum at Caesars built for Celine Dion. A few months later, I heard a MICA system demo at the Shrine Auditorium in L.A. That sealed the deal."
Acoustic Dimensions' project manager Robert Rose concurred with the new direction, noting that MICA's size and acoustical properties were a good fit for the proposed expansion. Rose worked with Acoustic Dimensions' Rick Lavin to develop the basic concept into a finished design, relying on Lavin's mastery of Meyer Sound's MAPP Online Pro acoustical prediction program.
The final proposal comprises left and right arrays of eight MICA cabinets each, with one CQ-2 narrow coverage main loudspeaker per side to provide fill to the corners. A CQ-1 wide coverage main loudspeaker fills in the center, and UPJ-1P compact VariO loudspeakers serve as downfill and rear delays. The two 700-HP subwoofers will remain in service, and the present plan is to supplement bass for the center and rear with a flown array of four M3D-Sub directional subwoofers. Two Galileo loudspeaker management systems are dedicated to signal distribution, EQ and delay.
Ogden says that the church was influenced to make the investment in the new system by the proximity of the Las Vegas Strip, which necessarily sets a high standard for technical production values. "We have an important message to communicate," he maintained, "and our use of technology reflects our commitment to making sure it is heard."