In the summer of 2017, the Church of the Risen Savior was no longer satisfied with its aging sound system. So, began the move forward with their first audio update in almost three decades.
Kevin Rotty, music director at the Burnsville, Minnesota-based church, was tasked with heading up the beginning steps in the process for the system upgrade. Helping with the research were some eager volunteers spec’ing different companies and equipment that would best work in the space.
“One gentleman, who was retired from the airline industry, helped me put out the requests for proposals and quotes, spending almost the entire summer getting that done,” Rotty notes. “We asked for bids by October and went through the dwindling down process, as we looked for the best fit.”
It was clear early on that Electronic Design Company, based in nearby Minneapolis, was the best integrator for the project.
“The decision was made between all the pertinent committees and with my recommendation,” Rotty states. “What we saw in them was their good track record with projects going on in the area, and they had the best bid.”
“The sound system is acting in a way where people don’t even realize it’s there. People can just hear what they need to hear, and it’s not overly processed -- the presence of the spoken word and the music has been so clear." Kevin Rotty, Music Director at Church the Risen Savior
Joe Kankovsky, president of EDC, says after the initial correspondence was sent out, his company responded back with a bid on specifications. Kankovsky also noted that he was familiar with the church, so he understood first-hand some of the project’s likely challenges. “It’s a facility that had nothing but hard walls and surfaces, and the current system created too much reverb off these finishes,” he recalls. “The spec they sent out called for acoustic treatment for the walls, but because of careful design choices, we were able to minimize the acoustic treatments required, by choosing LINA.”
To have the church achieve the quality of sound it desired, EDC had proposed to install a Meyer Sound LINA system at Church of the Risen Savior, after discussing both that option and a point-source option.
“Due to the lack of space in the facility where the equipment would be located,” Kankovsky explains, “we felt Meyer Sound’s LINA made the most sense. The amplifiers are located inside the speaker cabinet, which is a significant space-saver.”
Rotty had also researched the various systems that could work at the church, and trusted EDC on their choice. In addition, the LINA fit in well with the price point they were looking for. EDC presented several modelings of different sound systems to show how each would work, and everyone agreed the LINA system was the best option.
“They really liked the LINA idea, and felt it would be the best-sounding system. Kankovsky states.
The equipment includes three clusters of LINAs, each with six LINA boxes; three 750-LFC low-frequency control elements; and one fill speaker. All of this was fed by Meyer’s Galileo GALAXY 816 processor. When the install was completed officially on July 22, it became the first worship space in the area to include Meyer equipment.
“It went really smooth. On Monday, we took down the existing system. We had three days to put up the equipment, so we could have a Meyer sound engineer in by Thursday,” Kankovsky remembers. So, when the Meyer guy came in, the system was semi-tuned. He did the final tuning with one of our engineers, and by 4 p.m. that day, the system was ready to go.”
As part of the sound upgrade project, a new audio mix position was also created, because the previous mix position was positioned poorly in the back of the church. As a result, it hadn’t been a good place to judge what was being heard by the listener.
With the old sound system, Rotty described it as having been like “the Wild West,” where the practice of zeroing out the board or getting it back to some middle ground after each usage, was virtually not possible. “We basically took out an area of pews and built in a new mix position,” Rotty explains. “We built it to the specifications of the board, and it all fits really well.”
The installation was completed without having to cancel any weekend services, though the church did need to shut down for five days in the middle of the week. During the install work, some additional construction was finished in the space, with an opening between the main sanctuary and the chapel being closed in with a glass wall.
Kankovsky notes, new acoustic paneling was added on part of a wall to help control reflected sound in the space, which has improved and managed the liveliness of the room.
“I’ve been in the church a number of times since, and it all sounds fantastic,” Kankovsky said. “From the people I talk to, they really are impressed with the clarity.”
With the LINA system in place, the sound at Church of the Risen Savior has never been better. Rotty sys the system is extremely user-friendly and intuitive.
“This is our first foray into the digital realm, so that is a nice change,” Rotty tells. “Some of our volunteers had to learn how all these digital cages of channels work, rather than one big audio board with everything on it, and everyone is pretty comfortable. The training process was pretty quick and they all seem at ease.”
Rotty concludes, “We’ve been able to make the setup consistent, because we now have presets and no matter what the previous settings were, we can get them back to square one. The intelligibility of speech has been just fantastic and we’re all very happy with it.”
For example, at the weekend masses, the system doesn’t need to be so loud, to get over the ambient noise that had been there previously, which makes it a much more seamless experience for those attending.
“The sound system is acting in a way where people don’t even realize it’s there,” he emphasizes. “People can just hear what they need to hear, and it’s not overly processed. The presence of the spoken word and the music has been so clear.”
Every once in a while, the Church of the Risen Savior puts on a big production — a secular musical review for example. Rotty is looking forward to the next event (planned for early next year in honor of the church’s 50th anniversary) to hear how great everything will sound.
While EDC has done a few worship projects other than at Church of the Risen Savior, it’s not regular type of project for the company. Kankovsky notes that he does look forward to managing more church projects in the years ahead.
Looking ahead to future projects for his church, Rotty explains that when he and his volunteer first began compiling specs for this install, the two also put together a full RFP for an overall building plan. It includes the construction of meeting rooms, space for their youth ministry and it also details the addition of video connectivity to some of the rooms.
Rotty comments, “We did get proposals for (those additions and updates), but we don’t currently have the funds.. But, we were able to plan it so that in five or 10 years, if we are going to do more building connectivity, then we have a system in place that’s been designed with that in mind.”