An 82-year-old Spanish mission style building stands proud In the heart of Laguna Beach in Southern California, as the home of Laguna Presbyterian Church.
After a two-year renovation that included the installation of a Meyer Sound Constellation acoustic system, the sanctuary now provides an acoustic environment that fully supports its diverse worship program.
“We were very unhappy with the sound,” says worship elder Lorna Cohen. “It was fine for spoken word but we had all sorts of music that just really wasn’t engaging our congregation because of the building’s acoustics.”
“We also have this Möller organ with 1,600 pipes and we weren’t really able to experience the full range of that because we had a very, very dead space.”
Laguna was committed to finding an audio solution that would fully support its praise band, sermons and readings, agape bells choir, and chorus.
Preserving the aesthec integrity of the historic architecture was also a key requirement, and this essentially eliminated large modifications as an option.
According to acoustic measurements conducted by Jerry Christoff of Veneklasen Associates in spring 2005, Laguna had a nominal reverberation time of only 0.8 seconds at 500 Hertz.
The short nominal reverberation resulted in dry and lifeless choir and organ sound, and less than robust congregational singing. The report concluded that the VRAS technology, which is at the heart of Constellation, would achieve a much wider range of reverberation and envelopment than the alternative options.
Subsequently, a successful VRAS demonstration proved the systems worth to Cohen. “It was my first Constellation listening experience and it was a shocking difference,” said Cohen. “The system was turned on and off, and then on, it was just the difference between wanting to sing and not wanting to sing.”
Dave Lawler of Docktrdave Audio Inc. oversaw the audio upgrade at Laguna, from system design, installation, to final tuning. Sixteen miniature cardioid and omnidirectional microphones throughout the room pick up the room’s acoustics and these signals are processed by one MS-Constellation and two MS-VRAS processors.
In addition to the Constellation system, Laguna also installed a main reinforcement system that features 14 UPM-1P, four UPM-2P, two CQ-2, eight UPJunior VariO loudspeakers, and 15 Stella-4 installation loudspeakers, as well as 500-HP and USW-1P subwoofers.
“From our first hearing of VRAS to the completion of our Constellation install, the response of the congregation has been nothing but positive,” says Cohen. “The system is also very simple to operate, which is what we need as a church.”