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Church Sound: But Does It Sound Right?

A couple of "instructive experiences" on knowing what you’re getting into ahead of time...

By Gary Zandstra January 16, 2015

This article is provided by Gary

Recently I took a compact line array rig out for a demo that was also a live event.

The system included six full-range line array modules and four 18-inch-loaded subwoofers, driven by 12,000-watt amplifiers—and there were four more 18-inch subs sitting in the corner.

The demo room wasn’t all that large, and when I walked in and saw the size of it, and then pondered the scale of the system and those four extra subs, my first thought was, “We have way more PA than we’ll ever use—I hope we don’t hurt anyone.”

I was then introduced to Rick, who was running the event and also serving as the front of house mixer, and after exchanging pleasantries, I mentioned that we wouldn’t be needing the subs. Rick simply gave me a tight smile and said, “We’ll see.”

We finished setting up the system and Rick patched in his iPod, and we began listening. By the conclusion of the first measure of music, I realized my statement about not needing the subs was wrong. The music was hip-hop, and while the full-range line array had a solid, balanced attack, it was having a hard time going as deep as the program material demanded.

The combination of the 18-inch subs handling the deep, really low frequencies combined with the overall solid performance of the full-range boxes was the right ticket. This was furthered because Rick divided the subs into two groups, each with its own aux send so that they could be further tailored and optimized.

The system rocked the house; the only problem was the occasional tripping of a breaker because there weren’t enough separate electrical circuits to spread out the power load.

Another issue was that I had to eat humble pie, but Rick was nice about it and chose not to rub it in. (Maybe it was because I brought a free sound system for him to use.)

This brought to mind a similar experience…

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About Gary

Gary Zandstra
Gary Zandstra

Consultant, Dan Vos Construction, Writer for Worship Facilities and ProSoundWeb
Gary Zandstra has worked in church production and as an AV systems integrator for more than 35 years. He’s also contributed numerous articles to ProSoundWeb over the past decade.


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