Singing along in the East Sunshine
USA: Song fills the 1,500-seat sanctuary of East Sunshine Christian Church in Springfield, Missouri every Sunday. A four-part acapella harmony forms the basis for the church’s contemporary style of worship as the group onstage leads the congregation in a sing-along. While singing plays a key role in East Sunshine’s services, for a long time it suffered with an inept sound system that resulted in poor and inconsistent coverage.
‘We rely on people in the congregation being able to hear their part,’ notes East Sunshine’s worship minister, Randy Wray. ‘When it's muddled and there's no distinction, it's very hard to sing and appreciate the four-part harmony.’
When the church recently underwent a major renovation to its sanctuary, the opportunity presented itself for a new audio system to be installed as part of the improvements. Local solution provider, Sensory Integration AV, was engaged, designing and installing a setup based around Renkus-Heinz Iconyx Gen5 digitally steerable array loudspeakers.
‘The previous system really didn't provide the vocal intelligibility they needed, and coverage was very inconsistent,’ recalls Darren Smith, president of Sensory Integration. ‘It's a very wide room, with an 18m peak in the middle and a very large rear wall. We actually did multiple demos of different line arrays in this room, and struggled to achieve the coverage we needed.’
To combat this challenge, the team from Sensory Integration deployed a pair of IC Live ICL-FR-N column speakers, one per side of the stage in an L/R configuration. Meanwhile, a dual IC2 array with two IC2-FR systems were installed within the top of the proscenium, completing the L/C/R solution.
‘The Iconyx beam steering gave us the ability to steer the sound away from the back walls, dramatically reducing reflections and increasing intelligibility,’ explains Mr Smith. ‘The L/C/R configuration also gave us excellent, consistent coverage – you can sit anywhere in the auditorium and get great sound.’
‘The best way to describe the old system was “muffled”. There was really no intelligibility. It also really mattered where you sat; some people complained they couldn't hear and others said it was too loud,’ concludes Mr Wray. With the new solution up and working well, the minister reveals that another problem may have presented itself. ‘With the previous system, we could actually get away with weaker singers onstage. As soon as I heard the new system, my first thought was that we need to get better onstage, because people are going to hear everything.’