Coverage across Cherry Hills
USA: Cherry Hills Community Church in Highlands Ranch, Colorado was recently named ‘the fastest growing church in the United States’. To ensure that even coverage and speech intelligibility was delivered to its rapidly growing congregation, as well as to facilitate the increasing number of concerts it stages, the church management team decided to upgrade its audio setup, turning to Tennessee-based Mankin Media Systems to specify and install a new solution.
‘It was one of the more complex projects we’ve ever been involved with,’ recalls Tim Corder from Mankin Media Systems. ‘The entire leadership of the church had changed since the last system was installed about eight years ago and the new team really wanted a system worthy of their reputation as a growing, dynamic congregation. Cherry Hills had reached the point where the leadership felt that their worship experience was being compromised by the quality of the audio, which is a tough place to be for a church that is so outreach-focused, and the stakes were high.
‘The audio quality didn’t just change in different parts of the room; it would change drastically from seat to seat. You could stand in front of one seat and it sounded like there was a blanket over the speakers, then move over just one seat and it was icepick piercing,’ Mr Corder continues. ‘As Cherry Hills has grown, they are doing an increasing number of concerts by popular Christian artists and the goal was to have a system installed that would allow these artists and their crews to leave whatever speakers they were touring with on the truck and confidently use the house system for all shows.’
The solution provided was based on L-Acoustics Kara elements. A total of 30 Kara cabinets were installed along with nine SB18i and eight KS28 subs, with three Arcs Wide enclosures. For fills and stage wedges, Mankin Media Systems delivered 18 X8 and 13 X12 coaxial elements.
‘The church initially ran into a budget issue because the stage build-out for the sub bunkers was going to cost too much, so they opted to fly the KS28s and have been amazed with their performance,’ explains L-Acoustics regional sales manager BJ Shaver. ‘A common misconception with churches is that you have to have subs on the ground to get “impact”, which simply isn’t true.’
Driving most of the systems are 18 LA4X amplifiers, while a pair of Acoustics LA12X amplified controllers power the KS28 sub hangs. During the design and installation of the system, which is controlled via a DiGiCo SD10, the Mankin team made use of L-Acoustics’ Soundvision 3D real-time system modelling software to keep the sound under control in a space featuring within reflective glass walls.
‘Because the church places a very high value on the role of a choir in the services, in addition to the audio experience in front of the PA, we needed extensive pattern control behind the main PA but also a system so the choir could hear,’ says Mr Corder, discussing the implementation of the Arcs Wide units. ‘They just line up so seamlessly and create this little slice of sound. If you can see either side of the box, then you’re out of the coverage.’
Following installation, the new sound solution has reportedly impressed Cherry Hills’ technical director, Chris Thomas, and audio director, Ben Edison. ‘The old system was spotty in term of coverage, lacked low end, and was very harsh in the high end, and now we have a very pleasant sounding system that has actually allowed us to push the SPL during a typical service without complaints,’ notes Mr Thomas. ‘And in terms of being rider-friendly it was a no-brainer. There is not a touring act out there that is going to question an L-Acoustics rig.’