When 156 people gathered together at Redmond, Washington’s Louisa May Alcott Elementary School in November of 1989 to first worship together, little did they know that their grassroots efforts to reach their neighbors would lead to what is today a vibrant, multi-campus community of faith known as Timberlake Church. Over three decades later, an unwavering dedication to service and excellence remains at the heart of everything Timberlake does, from its mission projects and children’s programs to its online presence and in-person worship experience. This past March, the church’s flagship location in Redmond further underscored that commitment by significantly upgrading its sound by installing a new L-Acoustics Kara IIi professional audio system flown in its 1,200-seat auditorium by Colorado-based HOW integrator Summit Integrated Systems.
Summit Project Manager Andrew Starke said the design and installation was hardly a paint-by-numbers process. “The challenge for fan-shaped auditoriums like this is getting both consistent impact and coverage,” he explains. “There’s a tendency to trade punch for coverage in situations like this, but we didn’t want to do that because the church’s worship style really called for impact.”
The previous PA system dates back to the turn of the century. “The sound in the room tended to be a bit harsh, and coverage was spotty, so those were the main challenges we needed to address,” explains Timberlake Church Production and Technical Director Ben Graf, also a longtime pro-AV veteran in the Seattle area, “We were looking for heightened audio and coverage quality, but we were also looking to achieve a new level of impact.”
Once a tour of some recent L-Acoustics church installation projects had convinced Timberlake Church’s committee that this was the way to go, Summit’s design team made critical choices: they decided on a combination of six center-hung KS21i subs, flown as adjacent three-enclosure hangs in an omni configuration, with another six ground-based KS21i subs deployed in an arc under the stage. “That gave us the impact we needed, both on the floor and in the balcony, letting us dial in exactly the amount of punch needed for each,” says Starke.
The new sound system’s main arrays comprise eight Kara IIi per side, with four A15i per side—three Focus over one Wide—for out-fill arrays, a combination chosen for consistency across the room. “The Kara IIi and A15i compression drivers and voicing are very similar,” says Starke. “With L-Acoustics, there’s a predictable consistency from one box type to the next, letting us mix the boxes as needed, knowing we’ll have uniformity across the entire system. We can pick the boxes based on the coverage the room needs while still achieving impact in every location.”
And finally, they chose three of the new LA7.16i amplified controllers to achieve consistent FIR responses across all of the main speakers, with a pair of LA12X for the subs. “We were able to get all the power we needed, where we needed it, with fewer amplifiers, which saved us budget while also increasing our resolution,” he says. “That was a huge win for the church.”
The project also included additional key audio infrastructure, including a DiGiCo Quantum225 console with a Waves server rack at front-of-house and a KLANG:konductor in-ear management system for monitors, all on an Optocore network loop.
“We wanted people worshiping here to feel the services as much as hear them,” says Timberlake’s Graf. “The loudspeaker system was crucial for that, and the Kara IIi and A15i not only met those expectations but far exceeded them. In fact, I’d say the sound quality blew us out of the water.”
L-Acoustics is renowned for developing innovative sound systems and technologies that elevate the listening experience. Founded in France in 1984, L-Acoustics currently employs 700 team members worldwide, with headquarters in Paris, Los Angeles, London, and Singapore. Recognized for pioneering the line source array, L-Acoustics continues to shape the future of sound with solutions such as the L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound technology, which offers 3D multi-dimensional audio. L-Acoustics Creations, a division of L-Acoustics, offers exceptional concert-grade sound systems and immersive sound spaces for residential and architectural environments. In recognition of introducing these ground-breaking creative technologies, L-Acoustics was named one of Fast Company‘s Most Innovative Companies of 2020 and 2023.
L-Acoustics sound systems can be heard around the globe in venues like the Hollywood Bowl and the Philharmonie de Paris, at the world’s top-grossing festivals such as Coachella and Tomorrowland, international special events like the World Expo 2020 and World Cup 2022, and on tour with world-class artists such as Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Arctic Monkeys, and Jacky Cheung, and in the Las Vegas residencies of Katy Perry, Adele, and more.