African church equipped with high-end Harman solution
SOUTH AFRICA: Rhema Bible Church in Randburg has undergone an audio system refit relying exclusively on products from Harman. Senior pastor Ray McCauley turned to audio consultants Sound GP and Harman Professional distributor, Wild & Marr, for an integrated audio infrastructure and broadcast/production facility was the first of its kind in Africa.
The audio system had to support the multi-functional needs of Sunday morning services, with spoken word being the top priority. In addition, it needed to deliver high-end concert performance over the noise levels generated in the large auditorium, while providing the necessary capability for international touring artists, without the need for additional equipment.
‘The previous system was unable to cope with the new high-energy content being generated in many forms – from live music to A/V,’ stated pastor Alan Plant, who heads logistics for Sunday services. ‘Due to its age, the speech coverage was uneven and not up to the level of consistency required to ensure a pleasant listening environment.’
Wild and Marr chose JBL’s VTX line array system powered by Crown’s I-Tech 12000 HD power amplifiers to cover the 180-degree bowl of the 7,500 seat auditorium. The system is controlled by the latest version of JBL HiQnet Performance Manager software.
To fulfill the church’s requirements, Wild and Marr outfitted the auditorium with four arrays of six JBL VTX V25 loudspeakers and two JBL Vertec VT4886 subcompact enclosures per array acting as down fills. The system also includes three JBL VTX S28 subwoofers per side in a cardioid array. Eight JBL STX815M loudspeakers were also used to provide delays to the rear seating area.
By using a specially designed Madi routing solution, the church now has expanded routing flexibility and is capable of future expansion. This is a first-of-its-kind solution in such an environment, enabling the sound operators to mix 96 channels from the Soundcraft Vi6 stage box mic pre-amplifiers. Sixty-four of these channels are made available to the monitor Soundcraft Vi1 or the Soundcraft Vi1 in the broadcast/production facility as well as the permanent recording PC, which also doubles as a virtual sound check playback device.
The Soundcraft Aviom expansion card provides flexibility of routing to any console bus feed. This digital signal backbone also provides adequate tie lines for signal interconnection between the various consoles while passing AES/EBU signal to the main PA via the Madi router. An analogue signal routing system provides redundancy from the main PA ensuring reliable signal transport to the Crown I-Tech HD amplifiers.
Gustav Teitge, Wild & Marr systems engineer noted that the system performance objectives had been clearly met by installing JBL VTX. ‘The new technology incorporated into the D2 driver, as well as other innovations, like decreased component gaps and structural changes, make seamless audio interconnectivity when moving around the auditorium a priority – thus lending itself to extremely smooth and accurate audio distribution.’
Sound GP owner, Cristo Hattingh, was responsible for the voicing of the system. In addition, challenges faced and overcome along the way included restricted height due to the funnel shape of the space’s profile creating unique standing waves in the low-mids and making it very challenging to achieve an even low-end distribution.
The implementation of a collaborative Harman product line was the first of its kind in Africa using this type of technology. ‘Utilising the new VTX loudspeaker system all the way down to a Madi integrated Soundcraft fibre signal distribution and control backbone provided an innovative and successful solution to the many challenges the Rhema Bible Church presented,’ concluded the design team.