Summit Church finds perfect balance with d&b Soundscape.

Designing AVL systems for a broadcast campus that streams audio and video to multiple other campuses can be a tricky balancing act. The integrator must make sure to create the best possible worship experience for the broadcast campus itself, while also addressing how the high-quality content will be experiences streamed to the other campuses. These concerns have to be front of mind in order to ensure that all the client’s needs are met.

A recent AVL installation completed by CSD Group at the Summit Church’s brand-new Capital Hills Campus in Raleigh NC offers a fine example of how to balance these two major priorities.

Since music and spoken word are the essential elements of the in-venue worship experience, audio was the main priority for that side of the project. After much consideration, CSD specified a d&b Soundscape-based system.

“At the time, I had been working with d&b a little bit on their new Soundscape stuff. And I’m an old theater guy, so I’m used to more surround and locational-audio-type setups,” McCauley said. “So, we did some demos with the church, and I let them experience the arrays that we were thinking about. And they loved them. And then we did a setup with the Soundscape to show them what that does, because I’m a big proponent of positional audio. And once they experienced that, they were like, ‘Oh, that’s what we want.’”

So, that led us into, ‘OK. Well, how much is that going to cost?’ And when we did the math, because we’re using point-source speakers, delays and surrounds, we were actually able to come in pretty cost-effectively. I mean, it was a little bit more than the other system, but it was very comparable, much to our surprise and giddiness. David McCauley, CSD Principal Consultant

The system uses a total of 44 d&b speakers: 12 24S-D, two 12S-D, two 12S, two 10SD, 24 8S and two 5S. “The mains are 24Ses. And then we have a delay ring of 24Ses. So, there’s five 24Ses up front and seven delay-ring 24Ses covering the back half of the room,” McCauley described. “Then, for surround speakers, the ones on either side of the stage are 12Ses. And then the next ones out are 10Ses. The rest of the surrounds around the room are 8Ses. And those two 5Ses are outer front fills that needed to be a little bit smaller.” He added, “Design and deployment are so key to this type system working well. If you don’t know how high to put the speaker, how to space them correctly and how to drive them correctly, the result can be not great. I think we got the placement right so that it doesn’t blow people out too bad when they’re close to the speakers, but the sound still reaches into the room deep enough that everybody gets to experience the immersion.”

A mix of d&b J-SUBs and B6es handles the low end. “We have four B6es on the floor in a specially designed [part of the stage]. And then we have three J-SUBs in the air, dead center,” McCauley said. “With wide rooms, you want to make sure that you don’t collapse the pattern of your bass. And I’m not a big fan of separating bass, especially flown, because then you get a whole lot of interaction, comb filtering and stuff.” He added, “This is not a crushing bass component. They wanted it to be musical, but they want to be able to feel it. And that’s pretty much what they have.”

The entire audio system is driven by a d&b DS100 processing platform for Soundscape. A Yamaha RIVAGE PM7 is used for the in-house mix, and a Yamaha CL5 is used for the broadcast mix. The mains and subwoofers are powered by five d&b 30D amps, and eight d&b 10D amps power the surrounds.

Everything is driven on Dante. There are four d&b DS10 audio network bridges that break out the Dante to AES, so every amp is fed AES, and the signal never comes out of digital. David McCauley

“Basically, the signal flow would be Dante out of the console to the DS100 processor, then from the DS100 back into Dante out to the DS10s, and then from the DS10s to the amplifiers running AES. The interesting thing is, every speaker has its own amplifier channel, so [all of them are] direct-driven separately. There wasn’t anything parallel in this system.”

The Soundscape system can be configured in either a 180 setup, meaning a crowd-facing speaker setup oriented around a proscenium stage, or a 360 setup, which includes surround speakers throughout the room in addition to the stage setup.

“The 180 part of it is basically locational to the stage,” McCauley described. “So, let’s say you have five speakers across the stage. Every microphone on that stage has a corresponding placement, [which is represented by] a little circle on a computer screen. You can position on your screen approximately where the microphone is on the actual stage. And then the speakers are time delayed to that particular microphone, for volume and position. It is timed so that you think that you’re actually hearing the sound from the stage, not from the PA.”

It’s really awesome because, positionally, everything makes sense to your brain. David McCauley

Content originally published by Sound and Communications magazine – published with permission:

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