Seeking to equip, encourage, empower, and impact its congregation for a meaningful worship experience, Brooks United Methodist Church (UMC) offers a comprehensive range of ministries to better engage its congregation. Guided by the Rev. Jason L. Robinson, the church recently opened its brand-new worship center. To ensure the congregation could hear clearly and enjoy the music, a capable sound reinforcement system was deemed essential. Ultimately, church management selected mixer and loudspeaker technology drawn from the catalog of PreSonus Audio Electronics (www.presonus.com) of Baton Rouge, LA.
SSP Custom Sound LLC of York, PA, a design / build AV integration and live sound production firm, was contracted to design and deploy the church’s new sound reinforcement system. After consulting with church officials, the decision was made to install PreSonus StudioLive RM32AI and RM16AI 32- and 16-channel rack mount digital mixers with Active Integration, cascaded through an AVB Network along with a PreSonus CS18AI Ethernet/AVB control surface. For loudspeakers, the SSP Custom Sound team deployed two PreSonus WorxAudio X3 all-in-one compact line arrays augmented by two PreSonus WorxAudio X115S high SPL subwoofers. Steven Pappas, owner, system designer, and audio engineer for SSP Custom Sound LLC, discussed the project.
“Brooks United Methodist Church’s new sanctuary measures 72 feet deep by 80 feet wide,” Pappas reports. “The distance from the stage lip to the back wall is 52 feet while ceiling height is 30 feet at the peak—sloping down to 15 feet on the sides. Seating capacity for the space is 425 people. The stage faces into the width of the room, so one of the most pressing concerns was the ability to ensure even sound coverage throughout the entire area.”
The two PreSonus WorxAudio X3 line arrays are suspended from the sloped ceiling via poles, positioned directly above the corners of the stage at a height of 15.53 feet to the bottom of the loudspeaker enclosures. The two X115S sub bass enclosures reside on each corner of the stage and are aligned vertically with each suspended X3 enclosure overhead.
When queried about those attributes that made the X3 and X115S enclosures the ideal choice for this project, Pappas offered the following, “The WorxAudio X3s were the ‘right tool for the job’ on this project—due in large part to their unusually broad horizontal dispersion. The X3’s 160-degree horizontal coverage proved to be exactly what we needed for a room that was 80 feet wide. With carpeted floors and the acoustic panels that we installed in the room, the loudspeakers provide excellent clarity without any reflections or room anomalies. In conjunction with the X115S subwoofers, the X3s provide the high SPL necessary for a church that has very high energy worship services—complete with passionate sermons from the pulpit. Church management was amazed at the clarity these loudspeakers deliver and have sung their praises since the time we first turned the system on.”
For signal management, the PreSonus StudioLive RM32AI and RM16AI rackmount digital mixers are cascaded through a MOTU AVB network to form a 48-channel mixing setup. These are installed in an audio rack located in the sanctuary’s electrical room. The PreSonus CS18AI Ethernet/AVB control surface is positioned at Front of House, which is located against the back wall and is centered in the sanctuary.
“Services typically employ 32 channels,” Pappas explained. “Thanks to the technology offered by PreSonus, we were—for the first time—able to put digital technology into the hands of our client at a reasonable price. Equally notable, we also have them configured to use iPads for both mains and monitor flexibility.”
For many installations of this complexity, questions inevitably arise. In this regard, Pappas was very enthusiastic about the support he received from the PreSonus Commercial Audio team. “Our experience with PreSonus’ tech support team was excellent,” he said. “Jon Taylor, who handles technical sales for the Commercial Division, was instrumental in the room design and for helping us choose the X3s and X115S subs. He also assisted in getting the loudspeakers networked for system tuning. When it came to any questions on configuration questions, there was always a PreSonus team member available to help.”
Pappas reports that, since the very first service, the PreSonus sound reinforcement system has been performing beyond expectations. “The audio system has been very solid since its installation,” he said. “The church has been extremely pleased with the clarity and quality of the sound. No matter where you sit, the audio is clear, musical, and even sounding. All the various system components have been excellent, and church personnel have been particularly complimentary regarding the ease of use of the CS18ai console. It’s been a very positive experience for all involved.”