Modern worship with d&b in the Sunshine State
Orlando's Church in the Son is located north east of downtown Orlando, Florida, well away from the Sunshine State's attractions around International Drive and Buena Vista. Although placed in the 'megachurch' category by the Orlando Weekly it was, until recently, a relatively small space accommodating up to eight hundred worshipers at each of their three Sunday services. When a church member donated a vacant building lot adjacent to the church the solution to their burgeoning overcrowding dilemma appeared obvious. Gil Parente of Entertainment Arts, a leading Orlando technology design and installation specialist elaborates, "They decided to build a sixteen hundred seat venue allowing the "old" sanctuary to become a dedicated children and youth sanctuary which could comfortably accommodate the church’s high number of youngsters. From the beginning, it was decided that for the new building there would be no compromise in the audio system."
The decision to use a d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system was a three way collaboration led by Entertainment Arts and the Church with added input from d&b's Sales partner Carlton Audio Services, based in Davie, Florida. Chris Carlton explained, "Products were selected from the outcome of a listening test that we set up in an existing room the church had available for a demo. The quantity, placement, and array angles for the proposed system design were developed jointly. The Entertainment Arts team had a good handle on this from the start, we merely added a few guiding comments." Church in the Son's Technical Director had a clear vision in mind, as Parente made apparent, "The Message and Worship experience was the central concern and it could not be diminished by poor intelligibility or an intrusive and visually obvious sound system. Church in the Son is a long time and loyal customer and we put all our efforts into designing a system that would fit both the budget and the vision of the church."
Of the sixteen hundred seats, around nine hundred are on the floor, five hundred on the balcony, with the remaining two hundred situated to the side by the stairs to the balcony. Uniform full bandwidth coverage of the entire room was achieved using d&b audiotechnik Qi-Series line array loudspeakers for the main system, with E3s for the front fills, all driven by D12 amplifiers. The glass side-walls to the sanctuary were the only unhelpful surfaces, acoustically speaking, but as Carlton explained, "The precise horizontal Q of the d&b Qi loudspeaker system was able to avoid them quite nicely."
A major concern from the Church Construction Committee was the appearance of the system. They wanted to be sure that the hanging loudspeaker arrays would not be distracting or obtrusive in time of worship. The solution as Parente explains was easy. "The hardware provided for the Qi-Series comes in matching colors and made the array visually very discrete. We placed a thick black velour curtain immediately behind the arrays, which provided for both visual and acoustic improvements." The positioning of J-SUBS for low frequency propagation also had to be accommodated sympathetically as Carlton explained, "Subwoofers were not allowed on the floor so they have been hung in the center of the left and right arrays. Aimed about 45 degrees down, the inherent cardioid pattern of the J-SUBs achieved a fantastically even coverage front to back. In combination, the clarity of the Q-Series system and directional capabilities of the J-SUBs have helped optimize intelligibility and kept the sonic spectrum linear throughout the venue including the stage."
The end result has exceeded both main demands in terms of visual impact and sound quality; for a church that has been described by the weekly paper as the warmest and friendliest church in the neighborhood that is of paramount concern. As Parente sums up, "All of Church in The Son's dreams have been accomplished and for us at Entertainment Arts, that means mission accomplished."