Blackburn's One Community Church embraces d&b


Located in the tranquil eastern suburb of Blackburn, Melbourne, One Community Church (OCC) is at once new and approachable; a focus for faith that supports the quest for answers to the who, what, why and how of modern living in a Christian context. The church is a modern building of clean lines with a capacity of approximately five hundred in its main auditorium. However, its tilt slab construction presents some awkward acoustic anomalies when it comes to addressing the needs of an equally modern form of worship, embracing as it does all the paraphernalia of reinforced sound.

'We have been dealing with the church for the past eight years and were approached to give them an idea of our capabilities with regard to their new premises,' explained Jordan Mitchell of Melbourne-based Dr Audio, an AV installation specialist and the company charged with providing an effective sound solution for OCC. 'We were firstly employed directly with the church to put together our recommendations for the whole premises. That included the main auditorium's audio, video and lighting needs, various meeting and breakout areas, kids' ministry areas, café areas and office systems. Our recommendations were based on our experience with similar churches around Australia, and drawing on our work in performing arts centres, keeping in mind the ministry's specific requirements. Once given our recommendations, the church went through a cost analysis, compared it to their expected budget spend and worked out their ideal plan for moving forward. We were given the go ahead to implement our recommendations including backbone cabling for future AV/IT equipment.'

Some acoustic treatment had been included by the architect and implemented by the builders, however further treatment was considered necessary as OCC includes live bands in its services, with music ranging from youth rock, to a more restrained but no less powerful, adult contemporary. 'There was no designation of desired SPLs,' explained Mitchell, 'But keeping control on the sound was important due to the fact the church backs onto a residential area.' Consequently the selection of sound system and design was crucial. 'Looking at our options with regard to the audio system for the church, taking into consideration the construction of the building, the variety of uses the space would have, contemporary services, youth concerts, theatre and speech, we narrowed down our possibilities for the loudspeaker system to d&b audiotechnik. We had experienced the clarity, versatility and performance of the system at previous touring venues, revisited the system specifications and knew it would provide the best result for our client's requirements.'

Mitchell, in collusion with Shane Bailey at National Audio Systems, d&b's Australian distributor, arranged for some of the church leaders to attend a real-world PA system demonstration; a concert at a local venue by Tommy Emmanuel. Emmanuel is one of Australia's virtuoso guitarists, an Eric Clapton of the Antipodes, a musician of international repute and a joy to hear. 'The performance he gave and the performance of the system in particular assured our client that the d&b choice was the correct one to make.'

The final installation is founded upon elements of d&b's Qi-Series installation loudspeakers comprising Qi1s with Qi subwoofers rigged in CSA mode, with E3s employed as front fills. The system is driven by d&b's D12 and E-PAC amplifiers, which are controlled remotely using their R1 Remote control software, and Mitchell employing the delay function to precise effect, giving the E3s that slight early arrival over the main system that provides the congregation with a correct audio image emanating directly from the worship area.

Roger Bently from OCC managed the project on behalf of the church. 'We've been very pleased with the work provided by Dr Audio, and their attention to detail has, as always, been superb. As for the sound system, Tim Keating & Joe Tular who train our operators have told me their job is made easy, the PA gives such faithful and true reproduction.'

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