Hillsong UNITED, the chart-topping worship band that rose out of the youth ministry of Sydney, Australia’s Hillsong Church, recently wrapped up a U.S. summer arena tour in support of its 12th and latest full-length album, ZION.
The outing, known as “WELCOMEZION”, picks back up with a second three-week leg of North American dates in November and will continue to be supported by Greenfield, Indiana-based Mid-America Sound, which has been supplying an L-Acoustics K1 system for the tour.
The group’s summer jaunt, which stopped at a dozen cities in June, sold out shows in Phoenix, Dallas, Denver and Chicago, averaging almost 7,000 people each night.
This tour marks the third year that Mid-America Sound, along with supplementary gear support from Cincinnati-based partner Loud & Clear, has been providing concert sound for Hillsong UNITED, which switched from L-Acoustics V-DOSC to K1 two years ago.
Mid-America Sound Co-founder Kerry Darrenkamp details Hillsong UNITED’s current touring system as featuring left and right arrays each comprised of 14 K1 with six KARA enclosures below for down-fill, while a dozen KUDO per side provide out-fill coverage.
Low frequency reinforcement is supplied by two hangs of eight K1-SB, flown adjacent to the K1/KARA, supplemented by nine SB28 subs per side ground-stacked below in a cardioid arrangement.
On stage, six additional KARA enclosures are spread out as needed across the lip for front-fill, while eight coaxial 115XT HiQ wedges serve monitors, with a single dV-SUB on hand for drum monitoring.
Twelve LA-RAK, each containing three LA8 amplified controllers, deliver the full system’s power, filters and networking.
“Over the years, Hillsong UNITED has developed a hugely diverse song list that encompasses a large dynamic range and various musical styles,” says Hillsong UNITED FOH Engineer James Rudder. “When mixing front of house, I need the confidence that I can throw anything at the PA and it will handle the information in a detailed fashion.
“Our input list has also grown over the years and I really need to utilize all aspects of the depth and width that a PA can provide. Whether it be an intimate musical moment with few inputs or a wide open musical surge, I feel like I can rely on K1, KARA and KUDO to accurately reproduce what I am doing on the console.”
According to Hillsong Touring Audio System Designer Ricki Cook, “Since moving from V-DOSC to K1 a few years ago, our horizontal and vertical coverage has greatly improved, along with tonal consistency at varying SPLs.
“Our current system feels much more linear with the transition between elements now being quite seamless. The whole K product group is very easy to align and tune, and the overall sound of the system can be easily replicated from venue to venue.”
“From a production managers’ perspective, I appreciate how quick and simple the K1 system flies compared to other PAs on the market,” adds Hillsong UNITED Tour Production Manager Stephen Pippett. “As Ricki mentioned, our team is especially happy with the way the K1 and KUDO work together as mains/out-fills.
“Using LA Network Manager, we’re able to tailor the DSP settings of the KUDO side arrays to mimic K1, which produces spectacular results.”