San Diego, CA––The Heights Campus of The Rock Church is located in a former dealership for renewable energy cars with multiple glass surfaces, a daunting challenge for any audio system required to reproduce the spoken word and contemporary worship services with full band instrumentation.
To solve the problem, the Church and their design/build integrator, Clark, chose a Martin Audio MLA Mini loudspeaker array with CDD speakers for the exceptional control to direct the sound into the audience evenly from front to back without the negative impact of late reflections from the glass walls and hard concrete floor.
As George Clark describes the space, “The back wall that the PA and stage is facing and the two parallel side walls are all glass, with what was formerly the showroom office walled in with entry areas to the left and right. There’s a 16 x 30 ft. stage backed up to that wall in an intimate room that’s 120 ft. wide by 60 ft. deep and seats about 450.
“The Heights is a multi-site church campus with live spoken word and contemporary worship services that include bands with keyboards, drums, guitars, bass and vocals, none in an enclosed housing. That’s why we were concerned when we first saw the room and realized the PA would be firing right into that glass wall behind the audience. Fortunately, we were able to make full use of the fantastic MLA technology Martin Audio has developed.”
Clark designed and deployed a system that includes a hang with one MSX sub and 8 MLA Minis per side and two outside fills flanking those main arrays with one Martin Audio CDD15 each flown at the height of the bottom two Minis to cover the far sides of the first rows in the audience. There are also four CSX218 subs ground-stacked under the stage.
They chose MLA “to get the maximum amount of control from the system targeted to keep the energy down into the audience and not in other parts of the room,” George also points out they “brought in half of an actual system as proof of concept and focused it 7 ft. up the glass wall to show the Church exactly what it would sound like in terms of controlling what was hitting the ceiling, the glass walls and directly beneath the performers on the stage and it really cleaned everything up. When they heard it, they knew right away it was the direction in which they wanted to go.
“They could get consistent coverage front to back without the late reflections off the back wall,” George continues. “It’s so detrimental if you get a reflection that comes in 100 milliseconds after the original sound for people in the first row and the performers on stage. You have to make it a great environment for both and make sure you’re not compromising one or the other.”
Clark’s Senior Audio Commissioning Engineer Ed Crippen adds, “We’re very pleased with it. The clarity and intelligibility is fantastic. And there’s more than enough power in the system, you never have to push it to the limits of what it can do, there’s plenty of headroom there.
“These arrays are actually tucked upstage a little bit where they’re hung relative to the stage. They’re not at the edge of the stage 16 feet out, they’re actually more like 11 feet out from the back wall and you can be in front of and under that array and still have great isolation on stage.
Finally, “CDD is absolutely the right product for this application because it’s providing coverage exactly where we need it down in the audience area.”
The Rock Church’s Director of Facilities Ron Fulton confirms that The Heights Campus, one of five in the San Diego area, provides what is “a pretty full production between lights, graphics and sound. We have spoken word, contemporary worship with bands, rap concerts and worship nights. Everything is live except teaching portion that is transmitted via cable.
“We wanted the stage to face out to windows on the street so people could look in and see what was going on. Knowing the reverberation from all that glass was extreme and we had to manage the situation. After Clark brought in the MLA system so we could hear it, we couldn’t have asked for a better fit in that room. MLA really is doing what it was supposed to do and recently I had someone in who said, ‘Wow, did you guys make the right decision!’”
Summing up, Ron adds, “We’re loving MLA’s performance with minimal acoustic treatments to the room. The intelligibility and warmth of the sound are great, it allows us to have a full range spectrum of sound that obviously enhances the worship experience.”
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