The largest of seven venues on the Broadmoor Baptist Church campus in Shreveport, LA, the new center for contemporary worship services, is equipped with audio and video capabilities that include a Martin Audio MLA Mini loudspeaker system.
According to Allen Hendrix, minister of communications, the basic reason for choosing Martin Audio was the ability to control the audio output in what is a “super reverberant space.”
“Because the venue for contemporary worship services has grown so quickly,” Hendrix continues, “we went from a 200-seat chapel to a modified gym that sat about 600, to this new building with double the capacity in a short time. Broadmoor is a debt-free church and we don’t build anything until the money is in the bank, so the only way we could build a venue with 1200 seats and audio and video the way we wanted on a tight budget was to opt for a metal building format. Unlike a more typical cinder block wall commercial building, this is basically an aircraft hanger.”
“As such, our greatest challenge was how to work a concert level PA system–– which we need because our contemporary service is band not choir-driven––inside of a super reverberant space. Because we didn’t have a whole lot to spend on acoustic treatments and it has a flat concrete floor with an exposed metal girded A-frame ceiling and gypsum board sheetrock walls. So one of the reasons we went with the Martin Audio MLA Mini from the very beginning was its ability to put sound where we want it and not on the walls, ceiling or back wall. That was our number one goal in picking a PA.”
Hendrix and fellow technical staff members from Broadmoor began their search for the ideal loudspeaker system at last year’s InfoComm, attending every demo shootout from every manufacturer at the show. “After all those demos, we decided to pursue the MLA Mini system. We had already picked our contractor, All Pro Sound of Pensacola, FL, and we worked out the details of how to make the MLA Mini system work within our budget with them.”
According to John Fuqua of All Pro Sound, the actual system for Broadmoor’s contemporary worship venue consists of “2 main MLA Mini arrays consisting of 8 Mini array modules and 2 subwoofers each. This setup is augmented by 4 front stage lip fill speakers and a pair of 18” subwoofers on the floor at the front of the stage for near-field coverage and low end extension respectively.
“This space required a system that could deliver high quality sound from a relatively small package and provide concert level coverage for all types of events,” adds Fuqua. “The room is not extremely large but the demands of contemporary worship music required a system that can hold up.”
Other components of the audio system include Audio-Technica 5000 series wireless units, BSS London processing and a Yamaha CL-3 console with RIO3224 and RIO1608 stage boxes.
Hendrix points out “Our worship style is very rock and roll. Although it’s Christian music, it’s pretty intense and very dynamic, which explains why the MLA system has been so successful for us.”
“Another advantage was being able to set up the PA so easily and effectively. Using Display, we simply entered the room measurements into the software, followed by the desired outputs for audience coverage and SPL levels and the software gave us an accurate prediction for the array output which we could then deploy.”
“After that, we were able to listen to the space from onstage and all over the room—and the seating is movable so we can flex the room down to 800 seats depending on the expected crowd––and we were able to come up with presets to provide a better, more predictable coverage pattern for smaller groups, and for when the room is full up and we’re crammed all the way to the walls. The flexibility to electronically change the coverage pattern, without the need to re-rig, essentially to match the crowd in one click, not the venue, is extremely important to us.
“The MLA system also works very well for the spoken word,” Hendrix concludes. “The intelligibility is very good and we can easily maintain that balance between great presence in the music portion of our service and also make sure that we have complete dynamic range and ability for the pastor to be expressive on stage. Our Lead Pastor needs to get feedback from the crowd and not hear himself coming off the back wall in a delay, which can happen in our space because it has a big flat back wall.”
“Not only is he very pleased with how comfortable the room feels when he’s onstage, we’re really happy with the control and coverage MLA gives us in all kinds of situations with different sized audiences.”