The recently opened Casa de Dios is one of Central America’s latest architectural wonders.
This impressive church is the most recent achievement for Pastor Cash Luna and his followers. With years of careful planning and fundraising finally giving them a new home, the church has space for a congregation of over 12,000 in the main hall, as well as satellite youth churches on either side of the main building.
Michael Garrison Associates, Pastor Luna’s chosen partner for the AV and lighting installation, worked with the architect from the initial stages, adapting the overall design to create a system that would cope with all that was required.
“Because of the size of the sanctuary, we initially specified a line array,” explains Garrison. “However, half way into the project we learned that they wanted to zone the seating to accommodate groups that were far less than 12,000. As a result, we ended up starting from scratch on a new system design.”
A long time user of Tannoy products, it was natural for Garrison to include them in his search for a system solution.
“Initially, we looked at Tannoy and a couple of other brands,” said Michael. “When we modeled all of it, we were very surprised to find that, in the computer modeling, the Tannoy VQ system - an exploded cluster for the main and two delay rings of satellite delay speakers - actually exceeded the max sound level of the very fine line array system, and with much smoother coverage.”
Integrated with cutting edge digital signal processing, network control and dual channel Class D amplification, the VQNET line is a self-powered, networked variant of the company’s flagship VQ Series of high performance, high SPL sound reinforcement system.
With Pastor Cash Luna having the final say on the project, MGA took their modeling data to him and it wasn’t just the SPL levels he was impressed with.
“When we showed the coverage to the pastor and the cost comparison, his mind was made up,” Garrison adds. “Using VQ instead of a line array saved this project something in the realm of $500,000. When he heard that, the pastor said: ‘I don’t care about the touring riders. If they want to play here, they will play with my system.’”
With assistance from Graham Hendry, VP of TC Group’s Applications Engineering and Support division, the team at MGA have designed and installed a system that is unique to the space, but one that also considers aspects such as line of sight and aesthetics as well as the general acoustics.
The system design included one main exploded array flown above the stage consisting of 5 VQ60 loudspeakers. With such a defined pattern control, the VQ60 make the horizontal coverage seamless; as a point source the vertical dispersion is perfectly consistent and not hampered by vertical inconsistencies inherent with line arrays, especially at high frequencies.
“There are two further delay rows consisting of VQ60’s which will allow zoning to accommodate smaller congregations,” Steve Shewlakow, MGA’s senior AV designer, explains. “There’s also a main LF array that consists of 18 VNET 218DRs and 9 of the VNET 215HLs, and then a supplemental 5-position delay zone with 3 VNET218DRs in each zone in a cardioid array. There are also two subs on the ground that act as warmers and front fills.”
One of the most interesting and unique aspects of the installation is the central subwoofer cluster that sits directly in the middle of two large video screens, described by one onlooker as ‘hiding in plain sight’.
“People in Latin America they like a lot of bass, so we knew from the beginning that we couldn’t use the usual US reference points for that,” smiles Garrison. “We knew we would have to put in a low frequency and sub-woofer system that would go beyond what would be expected in the US.”
“With the help of Tannoy, Graham Hendry and other people, we came up with a three wide array that is 9 boxes tall, so a total of 27 boxes, 218s on the outside and the centre is 215 boxes, for the main LF subwoofer array, and then we have some supplemental units at floor level because people want to be able to feel that additional sub to reach the outside edge,” he adds. “Because the room is so deep and because they wanted to be able to zone it, we also have an additional delay ring with 5 positions, with 3 double 18s each. It comes to around 42 subwoofer devices in the room, and it’s pretty amazing. Working with signal timing, we were able to achieve wide dispersion, and it’s a pretty wide fan room.”
That overall performance characteristic of the VQ system impressed everyone involved.
“It’s punchy, it’s concert levels, it’s ‘thump your chest’ kind of levels, so we’re very happy with it,” concludes Garrison. “More importantly the pastor is happy with it, and the sound people are very happy with it.”