In addition to its weekly services, the church hosts a diversity of events during the week for its congregants, which comprise youths, seniors and every age group in between. Many of these events were hosted in a temporary building on the church grounds that ended up flooding, making it difficult, if not impossible, for the church to present the kinds of diverse and inspiring events it strived to host. Rather than shrinking into despair, the congregation rallied and created a new ‘Life Center’ which included a new, state of the art A/V environment built to span many generations.
As a member of the church and highly qualified to do the installation in his role as Chief Executive Officer of Noverus Innovations a firm that routinely handles A/V installations on equal and much larger scales for houses of worship and other environments Stephen Monk was the logical choice to spearhead the project. “We were involved in pre-planning before anything was designed for the building,” he explains. “They had architecture plans of what they were going to build, but no concept of what the A/V was going to look like. We helped with the 3D renderings and worked alongside multiple vendors to choose the right system for the facility.”
“Audio was probably the most important consideration in this installation, because the worship team really depends on great audio,” he continues. “It was a natural choice for us to look at Powersoft because of the sheer capabilities of what we were getting for the money in addition to the great audio quality the company is known for.” After comparing Powersoft’s amplifiers with competitors’ offerings, Monk realized that he would have had to use three or four competitors’ amplifiers and many more rack space units versus a single X8 amplifier from Powersoft. More importantly, the X8 gave him full Dante integration, making the audio networking dimension a breeze.
Now that the system is fully installed, Monk says that despite all the features that came with the X8, the most important attribute of the new system is the audio quality. “There were many audio issues in the space we had before,” he explains. “Depending on where you sat in the sanctuary, the audio quality was never consistently good and intelligibility was always a concern. There were always complaints - either it was too loud, or too quiet or it doesn’t sound right over here.” Being able to run the worship team’s content through a clear system was of critical importance, whether a sermon or a 16-piece musical ensemble. “We needed a system that everybody could enjoy, and one that could support everything from our pastor’s sermon to a multi-piece touring band. It was important to be able to deliver clarity across the entire frequency range, in multiple scenarios.”
X8: Making Networked Audio Extraordinary
In keeping up with the goals of delivering a ‘multi-generation’ solution for the Life Center that would continue to serve the needs of the congregation for many years into the future, Noverus Innovations decided to integrate a Dante compliant solution that would make routing and user controls much more efficient an important consideration in light of the fact that The Life Center at East Valley Church’s A/V staff is all volunteers and don’t necessarily have the time or capacity to manage cable runs, input assignments, EQ settings and a plethora of other items that can now be automated using Powersoft’s Armonia software.
“We knew we wanted the X series because we decided to put in a full Dante-based network for the audio,” Monk explains. “We wanted to be able to drive digital all the way up to the speaker, meaning we wouldn’t ever have to go to an outboard processor and send everything out that way. Once we looked at the specifications of the X8, it emerged as the perfect solution for a long-term investment.” Having a Dante based environment helps the church facilitate multi-track recording, while simplifying routing and reducing use of copper cabling. “We are now able to send full digital snakes up to the stage and not really worry about end points. This gives us tremendous flexibility on stage design and expandability we can do so many more things we could never do with analog without spending a lot more money.”
Singing from the Same Songsheet with Armonia
Now that The Life Center has a fully networked system, they are able to manage system functionality using Powersoft Armonia software. “We can change the inputs without having to move anything physically,” Monk notes. “Also we have different profiles set up in our Armonia software. For example, if we want something that is more of a ‘concert feel,’ we may select a DSP setting that has a slightly different bass-forward profile, versus a Sunday morning sermon that may center on a midrange centric frequency response. Our staff is able to manage through these changes seamlessly and it is all done without having to modify local EQ settings in the amplifier or the console.”
Perhaps the best attribute of Armonia is that it seamlessly enables future upgrades via firmware updates, anytime there is a software update. “This was a key component in our future expansion plans,” says Monk. “Because as Powersoft introduces new features, we can easily download and integrate them.”
The New Life Center, with Powersoft at the Core
The PA is a left/right system, with four dual 15” EV subwoofers hung in the center, front of stage. To the right and left of that, there are two four-speaker box line arrays, for a total of eight loudspeakers. Beside each of these, there are left and right side fills, which serve to fill in any gaps not covered by the primary speaker arrays. With four center channels utilized by the center subwoofers, two line arrays and two side fills, the system comprises eight channels overall, perfectly suiting it to the Powersoft X8.
The amplifier is housed in a small amp room which has many open rack spaces now that the X8 is in place. “The X8 is quiet and efficient,” says Monk. “More importantly, if we didn’t acquire the X8, we would have been looking at least eight rack spaces of power. And if we had stage monitors [The Life Center at East Valley Church relies on a Sennheiser G3 wireless system for in ear monitoring], we would have been looking at 10 different amps and much more heat dispersion and power consumption.” The church is able to run the system off of a single 30-amp circuit.
In terms of performance, the new X8 has overachieved: “We have had nothing but rave reviews from both the church and my team since we implemented it,” Monk exclaims. “The system is delivering the intelligibility we needed, and allows us headroom to grow if we need to expand or push the system to its upper limit.” Members of the congregation were able to discern a very clear difference in the audio quality compared to before, according to Monk, “Our first night of using the system with people in the building was during a worship service the entire night was dedicated to music. We were able to drive the system pretty hard, and afterwards we had many people come and tell us how amazing the system sounded.”