For Both Services, a Single Powersoft M50Q is ‘All They Will Ever Need’
Located approximately 20 miles due west of Minneapolis on the shores of Lake Minnetonka., Good Shepherd Lutheran Church hosts a mix of different worship services each week: traditional, which features liturgy, responsive readings, a traditional choir and organ hymns; and contemporary, which feature music with drums, bass, piano and guitar. Since the church rotates these services, parishioners are exposed to both styles in an unconventional room arrangement that has musicians situated at the opposite side of the room. Last June, the church called on Minneapolis-based Excel AV Group (http://www.excelavgroup.com) to handle a new system design and audio refinement featuring amplification from Powersoft.
The sanctuary, which seats approximately 350 congregants, is relatively square in shape with one quadrant comprising the altar. On the exact opposite side are the musicians and the mixing area, which consists of a small, centralized mixing space that controls two PTZ high definition cameras, a 16:9 video screen behind the stage and the entire audio functionality. The nature of the ‘split space’ provided an unusual challenge for System Designer Caleb Dick of Excel AV Group, since the audio for the music and the pulpit was essentially coming from opposite directions.
Localizing Front and Rear Sound Sources
“To get the high intelligibility we wanted, we had to have a single point source for the sound to have a single time arrival,” Dick explains. “This ruled out line arrays and stereo, so we had to have either mono or exploded mono. Meanwhile, the power had to be very efficient since we didn’t want the electrician to have to pull another circuit. Also we had a very minimal rackspace footprint to work with.” The team ultimately decided on an exploded mono system. “We recommended localization of the audio, so when there is someone speaking from the altar or the video screen is active, you close your eyes and the sound is localized from that source,” says Dick. “When the musicians play, there is a second sound system that has much more output capacity so when you close your eyes, the sound of the music is coming from the rear.”
After exploring several competitor amplifiers to drive the system, the Excel AV Group team ultimately chose a Powersoft M50Q amplifier. “By using the M50Q, we were able to power both systems from a single rack space and get excellent audio quality that is also power efficient,” says Dick. The entire system for the church — including the amplifier, speakers, mixer, and all the musicians’ gear — runs off of just two 20-amp circuits. “The Powersoft amp delivers more power than they will ever need,” according to Dick. “Now, whether there is someone speaking from the pulpit or there is dialog on the screen, there is excellent sound quality and high intelligibility.”
Two Systems, One Amplifier
The audio system goals for the front and rear parts of the room were slightly different: “For the front system, which is more than just speech, we needed even coverage, high intelligibility and a full frequency range except for sub frequencies,” explains Dick. “For the musicians area, we wanted even coverage and great intelligibility, but a higher SPL and a full range of bass frequencies that go down to the 27 Hz range.”
The front system features a pair of Fulcrum Acoustic DX8 loudspeakers and the rear system consists of two Fulcrum CX1526 15″ coaxial loudspeakers, complemented by a Danley TH112 subwoofer to handle the low end for the musicians. Given the speaker positioning for the two different zones, Excel AV Group had a challenge of concealing extremely long cable runs to preserve the visual aesthetic of the sanctuary. Despite the challenges of concealing several feet of audio cable, Dick concedes that there was never a concern that the Powersoft M50Q would not deliver more than a sufficient amount of power.
Other components of the audio system include an Allen & Heath Qu-24 mixing console, which Dick says sounds good and is extremely easy to use. The choir has a pair of Turbo Sound monitor wedges and the musicians are able to mix using Allen & Heath ME-1 personal monitor mixers. Meanwhile, the entire mix system is controllable using iPad connectivity.
For any house of worship installation, the intelligibility of the pastor is the most important thing. Dick says that this requirement was fulfilled, and that they now have a system that brings full dimension to the music program as well. “They are very happy with the audio, and in particular how deep the bass is,” Dick observes. “One of the most important things in a church installation is to have the fewest amount of tweaks, fixes and changes. For us, Powersoft is the brand to go with. If you get it right once, it is a great investment and will be working for years and years to come.”