Surrounded by the scenic views of Alamogordo, the 800-seat Christ Community Church was struggling to provide quality audio with their aging and original PA. With the decision made to upgrade its system, the task of finding a modern solution capable of delivering great sound evenly to every seat was given to technical director Jacob Pierce. With a big assist from industry experts Michael Garrison Associates (MGA), Pierce found the solution he was looking for with a custom Anna and Otto ADAPTive system from Eastern Acoustic Works (EAW).
The new EAW upgrade consists of a total of 12 Anna loudspeaker arrays, four Otto subwoofers and eight EAW JF8 2-way loudspeakers. The eight JF8’s are used as front fill speakers and are spread out evenly from the back of the platform in a trapezoidal pattern. The new EAW ADAPTive PA system is run through an Allen & Heath dLive console.
Built in 2000, Christ Community Church’s sanctuary was originally designed to be very wide, but not very deep. This architectural design presented the main acoustical challenge for Pierce; finding a stereo image that would cover the correct areas without blasting the back walls and filling the thrust stage with sound.
“We couldn't just put up any line array because it wouldn't cover the room properly,” said Pierce. “We are now playing a lot more contemporary, modern worship songs with louder guitars and drums, and the sound system wasn't cooperating with us. We had blown drivers, poor coverage and complaints about music being too loud or not loud enough just three seats away from each other. Our Church leadership realized it was time to make it better and gave me the go ahead to find our new PA.”
Determined to find the best sound system for the Church’s needs, Pierce got in touch with MGA to discuss how they could best solve the buildings’ challenging acoustical issues. MGA was contracted by the church for a multi-phase implementation, with acoustic treatments being part of Phase 1 and the loudspeaker portion falling into Phase 2. MGA was directed by Pierce to design a “stereo” loudspeaker system. Given the very wide and shallow seating area that wrapped partially around the stage, this was a challenging proposition.
“We prepared multiple loudspeaker design options, looking at multiple brands and array schemes with a range of cost tiers for the church’s consideration,” said Michael Garrison of MGA. “One of the exercises we went through was to compare the percentage of seats where a person could actually perceive realistic spatial imaging—knowing that some of the outside and wraparound seats would unavoidably have a monaural listening experience. The sound level computer modeling confirmed that EAW’s ADAPTive technology achieved the widest and most even coverage, as well as the highest percentage of seats to enjoy ‘stereo’ sound.”
Pierce was invited to Abundant Church in El Paso to hear the new EAW ADAPTive PA that MGA had designed and recently installed. “We didn't quite realize what we were missing until we heard the Anna system,” added Pierce. “When we came back and listened to our system, we were blown away on how inferior ours was. It is a night and day difference between what we had and what we have now. With our new EAW system, the ability to have full coverage and not have to worry about the sound bouncing off the back walls is game changing. The amount of array spill onto the stage that we got rid of was amazing. We struggled every week and now we no longer struggle with feedback, ever.”
The Church’s Anna system provides the benefits of ADAPTive performance in a high-output mid-sized enclosure. Weighing just 135 pounds (61 kg), the extraordinary output-to-weight ratio as well as 100-degree horizontal dispersion makes Anna exceptionally versatile. Like all ADAPTive Systems, Anna is controlled via Resolution 2 software over a Dante network.
“With our new EAW Anna ADAPTive system, no matter where you’re sitting, you’re getting the same volume and the same mix,” concluded Pierce. “We no longer have blown drivers. In the modeling, we went from a +/- 7.2 dB to a +/- 1.5 dB. That is far better than we could have ever hoped for. Our congregants no longer complain and are very happy. In addition to the team at MGA, I’d really like to acknowledge Jonas Domkus at EAW who did an incredible job tuning our system. Jonas is a phenomenal person who is a master at his craft. We really love our new EAW PA system.”