The goal in this project was to provide concert-grade system performance for praise-and worship services. However, achieving that goal at Kansas City’s International House of Prayer required meeting a number of unique challenges. Beyond the high expectations for bandwidth and SPL was a small added consideration. The system, from power-up onward, would be used constantly. Constantly, as in around the clock, all day, every day, year round, never off. Couple this requirement with the challenges presented with retrofitting a strip mall location with a 12′ ceiling into a decent acoustic space, and the project starts to go into the books under the “Okay, how do I pull this off” category.
Such were the goals and obstacles presented to Steve Brown of The Resource Group, located in Lakeland, FL. Brown had done a considerable amount of production support for the client, primarily large (3,000 – 15,000) conferences in the Kansas City metro area. These conferences are typically high production-value affairs, with contemporary praise and worship and vocal clarity being prime components. Conducted by a group called Friends of the Bridegroom, founded by Mike Bickle, an internationally recognized author, pastor, and speaker, these conferences draw a very broad cross-section of people from around the country. One part of the ongoing work of Friends of the Bridegroom is the International House of Prayer, which conducts 24-hour prayer and contemporary worship services. With the continual usage envisioned for the system, reliability was a key design component.
Staff from Friends of the Bridegroom were instrumental in selecting the appropriate speaker system for a facility being renovated for International House of Prayer services. According to Brown, after hearing a Meyer Sound system in use at one of the conferences, that was the direction they wanted to take for the new facility.
The first challenge for Brown was determining how to provide that level of quality in a strip mall structure. Conducting conferences in civic auditoriums differs from designing and installing a system with comparable performance in a converted warehouse. Throughout the initial design and installation phases, Brown requested acoustical treatment to deal with the parallel walls and other structures. One interesting architectural feature is a series of individual prayer rooms across from the stage. These rooms are angled 45o from the main stage area, and each one presents a series of interesting and problematic reflective paths.
With the new system up and running, it quickly became apparent that the acoustic treatment requested earlier by Brown was a functional requirement. In addition, the large commercial HVAC unit, designed to provide heating and cooling for a warehouse, was not workable in the facility’s new role, creating problematic noise issues. Brown recommended the Houston acoustical analysis and consulting firm of Hoover & Keith, which designed acoustic baffling to combat the reflection problems within the primary meeting space. The reflection problems were overcome, but the noise control problems associated with the HVAC system were designated for future rectification.
When awarded the contract for the new facility, Brown contacted the support staff at Meyer Sound for their input. With limited ceiling height (14′ to the deck, and 12′ to the grid), and 10,000 square feet to cover, the system component choices were somewhat limited. What was not negotiable was the system’s requirement to project both vocal clarity and broadband music playback. After discussing these performance requirements, the decision was made to install two pairs of CQ2 self-powered systems, flanking the stage.
To bolster low-end performance, a pair of EAW dual-18″ subwoofers were installed under the stage. With the limited ceiling height, stage height was also limited. The practical result was that the EAW cabinets were purchased because they were the only ones available to fit in the concrete alcoves beneath the stage. Powered by a Lab Gruppen fP-series amp, the subwoofers provide a solid foundation for the band. A forty-eight channel Yamaha PM3000 was installed for FOH duties, with a ProCo three-way input splitter installed to facilitate sends to the house console, monitor console, and live Internet broadcast feeds.
A Peavey Architectural Acoustics Digitool MX digital signal processor was installed to provide eight independent channels of signal processing. The 2RU Digitool MX utilizes parallel 24-bit SHARC processors to provide superior sonic performance. The Digitool MX, allowed the contractor to provide the processing resources necessary for the project, while reducing system complexity and saving a considerable amount of money and rack space. Software upgradability also allows the unit to be continually updated.
Two of the Digitool MX’s eight input channels were allocated to provide signal processing (compression, limiting, parametric EQ, etc.) for main house feeds (left and right), and an additional channel was used for crossover and time-alignment delay for the aux sub feed. In addition, two channels were allocated for EQ processing plus time alignment for a future delay speaker system. Brown indicated that the processor setup went without a hitch, with plenty of processing for future system expansion.
In order to provide flexibility for a constantly changing cast of musicians, a Furman HDS on-stage remote monitor mixing system was installed. In this instance, the HDS-16/HRM-16 system provided a cost effective means of providing individual monitor mixers for the majority of the band (the only “live” monitors on stage are wedges for the worship leader). Designed to provide individual headphone mixes for musicians in the studio or on stage, the HDS system was slightly modified to accommodate the distance between the FOH position and the stage. While the HDS system is provided with 25′ interface cables for each HRM remote mixer, Furman Sound support staff provided the information and parts necessary to allow The Resource Group’s crew to extend the 10BaseT Ethernet interface cables as required.
Using the equivalent of standard CAT5 cables, up to eight mono signals and four stereo signals are distributed to the HRM-16s, which are distributed from the output of the console to each remote mixer via the HDS-16, and adjusted independently according to each musician’s personal preference. Deriving their power from the HDS-16, each HRM-16 monitor mixer is mounted on a mic stand adjacent to each band member. They provide users with a talkback communications path between units, individual bass and treble controls, and a master volume level. Besides happy musicians, an additional benefit was a considerable reduction in stage volume in the low-ceilinged facility.
The system has been operating well. Brown commented that he is “really pleased with the sound”. The needs of the facility continue to expand, with weekly live web-casts supplementing the audience. Plans are afoot to expand the facility even further, as services continue.