September 11, 2013, by PSW Staff
CCI Solutions has a well-deserved reputation for creative solutions to challenging spaces. So it’s not surprising that the Olympia, WA-based AV design firm is behind the unique installation at Life Church in nearby Oak Harbor, featuring a 360-degree all-Mackie
With multiple weekly services hosting a growing membership approaching 900, Life Church recently completed an expansion project that includes a new multi-purpose youth facility.
Housed in a futuristic looking geodesic dome, the youth center is designed as a circular worship space with integrated audiovisual system and seating for 150.
"This was an unusual space that presented some unique acoustical challenges," explains Rick Boring, Sr. Systems Consultant for CCI Solutions. "The structure had been built several years ago but was never completed, and was uninhabitable.
"The room itself is circular, so every single interior wall is angled. Configuring it with traditional theater seating would have presented some coverage problems, and the need to go with a curved video screen, which would be expensive."
CCI's simple and effective solution was to design a space with 360-degree seating. A small, slightly elevated stage at the room's hub is built around a single center truss that holds four Mackie HD series loudspeakers and four LCD displays.
"The youth pastor conducts the service from the center stage, while the rest of the band is on another small stage an alcove off to one side," says Boring. "And depending on how the room is configured, the band alcove can sometimes wind up behind the seating area."
"Placing the speakers in the center was the easiest and most cost-effective way to ensure good, consistent coverage," Boring adds. "Plus, everyone is watching the worship leader on the center stage, and reading the text on the screens above him. Having the sound emanate from the middle of the room simply makes the most sense."
The main loudspeaker cluster consists of four Mackie HD1531 powered 15-inch 3-way systems. The speakers are mounted vertically above the LCD displays and angled down toward the seating areas.
"The Mackie HD1531 offers great sound quality and versatility for the money," Boring remarked. "With a challenging job like this, where space and budget are important, the HD1531 delivers a tremendous amount of clean output and bandwidth.
"So when the kids want to rock they can do it no problem.They're fully powered, so we didn't have to worry about outboard amps, and they've got more than enough low end for this space, so they don't need a sub."
For mixing duties Boring specified a Mackie DL1608 digital live mixer with iPad control. In addition to the band, inputs include a wireless microphone system for the youth pastor, as well as a Denon recording and playback system.
The Mackie DL1608 provides outputs for mains as well as monitors, and handles 100% of the system DSP.
"The DL1608 is absolutely perfect for a job like this," says Boring. "It's really simple to use, has excellent processing power already onboard, and packs plenty of I/O for its size."
The "keep it simple" mindset extends beyond all things audio to the video system as well. Beneath the four Mackie HD series loudspeakers are four 65-inch LCD displays.
Signal is provided by a Mac Mini computer running ProPresenter software. Four separate Xbox 360 consoles are each coupled to the four screens for rowdy, eye-to-eye multi-player sessions.
While technology may be their passion, the team at CCI Solutions will ultimately cite customer satisfaction as their highest priority. For Life Church, Boring is especially pleased with the finished product.
"We care about these churches and we want to help them communicate their message," concludes Boring. "I worked very closely with Life Church's Sr. Pastor from the very beginning of this project. He's very pleased with the final result and that's exactly what we strive for."