d&b delivers quality audio to LIFE Church in NZ.

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New Zealand’s LIFE Church recently opened the doors of its new Central Campus in Auckland. The new campus is large enough to accommodate the growing community and its far-reaching activities, including concerts, theatrical happenings, presentations, large conferences, and gatherings. To accommodate the large space, LIFE’s sound team along with Marshall Day Acoustics had to choose a sound system that could match the desired reverb time to suit both amplified music and spoken word. To meet the needs and challenges of the new space, the sound team turned to d&b audiotechnik partner National Audio Systems.

“On Sundays, we are currently running three services at different times in the new main auditorium, and during a number of them we link up with the other campuses via Internet, streaming live audio and video both ways,” explains Dan Cotton, LIFE’s long-standing Head of Audio, who is leading a group of technicians and technical managers across all four venues, himself looking after the new Central Campus as Production Manager together with a local team. “We’re not a quiet church. In our services, there are a lot of moments where it’s crucial that the MC can still cut through and be clearly heard over the top of a very energetic band, vocals, and arrangements.”

The new main auditorium is more than twice the size of one at the previous location, measuring forty to forty-five meters in-depth and almost equally as wide, with a ceiling height of up to nine meters. Fan-shaped and with wings, the tiered rear section rises to almost nine meters high above the ground, facing a stage about twenty meters wide and ten to eleven meters deep, with a large video wall as a backdrop and a full lighting rig above. Cotton was tasked with the planning and design of the audio system, sharing the challenge with his colleague Ricky Willis.

For the team to be able to make an informed decision, audio systems of different brands were rigged and used in LIFE’s other venues as well as rentals for larger events in external venues. This and several years’ experience with d&b in LIFE’s other campuses led to the team choosing d&b.

We have become quite accustomed with d&b and its performance, making it a big factor for what we’ve done in the new auditorium. All of the d&b systems are very predictable, we know we’re going to get what we expect: it’s going to cut through, and we don’t have to work hard to get the MC over the top of the band without blowing the front rows away.Dan Cotton, Head of Audio at Life Church

As in the past, turning to Melbourne-based d&b Partner National Audio Systems (NAS) brought a winning team back together. NAS’ Projects Team Leader Dave Jacques, who had been designing d&b solutions for LIFE’s campuses over the past several years, inspired Cotton to utilize ArrayCalc for the new design, “We had a conference which we did with a V-Series rig flown left/right and both a flown and a floor center sub arrangement. Every engineer using the system was extremely pleased with the ArrayProcessing and the overall performance.”

Jacques agreed and, together with Cotton and Willis, the design was refined through multiple phases. “The building design was changing multiple times throughout the process,” he remembers, “Dan would send me an ArrayCalc he did where he put in new obstacles, so I could see where they are and we could work out a solution.”

The span of what LIFE does goes from spoken word and conferencing to the quite loud, contemporary rock’n’roll type of content and everything in between. They needed a system able to deal with changes, different types of productions, stage extensions, etc, and ArrayProcessing really helped us with that. We can tailor it. If they extend the stage out significantly, it’s not a big problem, it doesn’t mean you have to re-hang the PA.Dave Jacques, Projects Team Leader NAS

The final system consists of left and right hangs with five Vi8 over three Vi12 each, a flown center array of eight Vi-SUBs in two columns of four, and eight 21S-SUBs built into the stage and time-aligned, as a horizontal array in an arc in infra-bass mode to achieve even VLF coverage.

Jacques explains the sub solution: “The heavy lifting, the punch, is done largely by the center block of the Vi-SUBs and, with the flown subs and the floor subs arrayed this way, it gives us the ability to adjust the timing so that we can push more sub energy where we need it because we need to deliver impact to the people in the far back without overpowering the people on the floor.”

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Two Vi7P point-source loudspeakers suspended from the ceiling on either side of the stage are serving as out-fills for the seats in the wings, while six E6 are doing front-fill duties to improve first arrival and imaging right in front of the stage. D80 and 30D amplifiers are powering all loudspeakers, including nine M6 floor monitors on stage.

We’ve only had really positive feedback on the system. The clarity and even coverage achievable with d&b technology, particularly ArrayProcessing, can be mind-blowing. Intelligibility is awesome everywhere. Actually, the preacher hardly needs any level to be intelligible because it’s so clear and so crisp, but if needed, we get a lot more level before feedback. Also, our musicians love it, they definitely get the vibe.Dan Cotton

Cotton and his team at LIFE Central Campus are more than satisfied with the result and look forward to working with d&b again. “It was an extremely smooth process in a timely and professional manner, thanks to all involved working well together,” said Cotton.

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