A new sound reinforcement system serving both traditional and contemporary services at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, located approximately 20 miles due west of Minneapolis on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, is driven by Powersoft M Series power amplification.
Minneapolis-based Excel AV Group handled the system design for the 350-capacity sanctuary. The room is relatively square in shape with one quadrant comprising the altar, while on the exact opposite side are the musicians and the mixing area, which consists of a small, centralized mixing space.
The nature of this “split space” provided an unusual challenge for system designer Caleb Dick of Excel AV Group, since the audio for the music and the pulpit was essentially coming from opposite directions.
“To get the high intelligibility we wanted, we had to have a single point source for the sound to have a single time arrival,” Dick explains. “This ruled out line arrays and stereo, so we had to have either mono or exploded mono. Meanwhile, the power had to be very efficient since we didn’t want the electrician to have to pull another circuit. Also we had a very minimal rackspace footprint to work with.”
The team ultimately decided on an exploded mono system. “We recommended localization of the audio, so when there is someone speaking from the altar or the video screen is active, you close your eyes and the sound is localized from that source,” says Dick. “When the musicians play, there is a second sound system that has much more output capacity so when you close your eyes, the sound of the music is coming from the rear.”
After exploring several options to drive the system, the system team team ultimately chose a Powersoft M50Q amplifier. “By using the M50Q, we were able to power both systems from a single rack space and get excellent audio quality that is also power efficient,” Dick notes. The entire system for the church — including the amplifier, loudspeakers, mixer, and all the musicians’ gear — runs off of just two 20-amp circuits.
“The Powersoft amp delivers more power than they will ever need,” he adds. “Now, whether there is someone speaking from the pulpit or there is dialog on the screen, there is excellent sound quality and high intelligibility.”
The audio system goals for the front and rear parts of the room were slightly different. “For the front system, which is more than just speech, we needed even coverage, high intelligibility and a full frequency range except for sub frequencies,” explains Dick. “For the musicians area, we wanted even coverage and great intelligibility, but a higher SPL and a full range of bass frequencies that go down to the 27 Hz range.”
The front system incorporates a pair of Fulcrum Acoustic DX8 loudspeakers and the rear system consists of two Fulcrum CX1526 15-inch coaxial loudspeakers, complemented by a Danley Sound LabsTH112 subwoofer to handle the low end for the musicians.
Given the loudspeaker positioning for the two different zones, Excel AV Group had a challenge of concealing extremely long cable runs to preserve the visual aesthetic of the sanctuary. Despite the challenges of concealing several feet of audio cable, Dick says that there was never a concern that the Powersoft M50Q would not deliver more than a sufficient amount of power.
Other components of the audio system include an Allen & Heath Qu-24 mixing console. The choir has a pair of Turbosound monitor wedges, and the musicians are able to mix using Allen & Heath ME-1 personal monitor mixers. The entire mix system is controllable using iPad connectivity.
For any house of worship installation, the intelligibility of the pastor is the most important thing. Dick says that this requirement was fulfilled, and that the church now have a system that brings full dimension to the music program as well. “They are very happy with the audio, and in particular how deep the bass is,” he concludes. “One of the most important things in a church installation is to have the fewest amount of tweaks, fixes and changes. For us, Powersoft is the brand to go with. If you get it right once, it is a great investment and will be working for years and years to come.”