Grove City Church of the Nazarene has built a large and diverse congregation in this Columbus, OH suburb, offering a mix of both contemporary and classic worship services, as well as hosting many conferences and concerts from touring Christian artists.
The church’s 2,800-seat sanctuary has long struggled with sonic issues, including poor intelligibility and uneven coverage, and the church was more than ready to upgrade their sound system. Technical director Matt Groves and front of house sound engineer Doug McLaughlin undertook the job of researching possible solutions.
“We looked at several major loudspeaker brands and invited several in to do demos for us,” Groves says. “They all sounded fine, but the Renkus-Heinz IC2 really stood out. They demonstrated the beam steering by putting us up in the balcony with the IC2 cabinet on stage. We could hear it just fine. Then he opens his laptop and says, ‘Watch this,’ and steers the speaker digitally so it’s hitting us directly upstairs. All of a sudden, boom, there it was, with unbelievable clarity. I looked at my front of house engineer and we both said, ‘That’s the one.’ It was the coolest thing.”
The system, installed by Tech Art Productions of Grandview Heights, OH, comprises a left-center-right, dead-hung configuration, with three IC2-FR modules in the center flanked by five more on either side. Each full-range IC2-FR module contains four 8-inch speakers and four vertically aligned one-inch high frequency drivers. To deliver the bass needed for the church’s powerful contemporary presentation, the arrays are supplemented by six DR18-2R powered subwoofers, hung in two groups of three between the main IC2 arrays.
Like most contemporary houses of worship, this installation requires both musicality and intelligibility, and the IC2 system delivers. “The music sounds amazing, and the spoken word is crystal clear in every seat, even under the balcony,” says Groves. “The IC2’s digital steering enabled us to aim a beam down to hit the front rows and another to cover beneath the balcony. And we have totally eliminated the slap-back echo from sound bouncing off the balcony facing.”
He also appreciates the economy of cabinets required to covers the church’s wide, cavernous sanctuary. “Having 120-degree dispersion lets us cover the full width of the room, even the side wings, with just the three LCR arrays,” he reports. “To do this room with standard line arrays would take two groups 9 or 10 boxes in a curved hang, plus extra speakers to cover the dead spots. Our biggest arrays are only five cabinets tall, and we have clean sightlines from every seat. There are no front fills, no side fills, and no speakers under the balcony.”
The early Sunday service is the classic presentation, with an 80-voice choir, 20-piece orchestra, plus a rhythm section. Thirty minutes after that service ends, the room is reset for the contemporary service, with the choir loft walled off and the stage reconfigured. There is also a hybrid service on Saturday. The system’s advanced RHAON control software can instantly recall multiple configurations for each service’s different demands.
“The contemporary service is a pretty high octane and edgier presentation that includes a rhythm section, six vocalists, a whole lot of bass, and is very guitar driven,” explains Groves. “The traditional service needs less bass reinforcement, which we have set up in the RHAON software as a preset. Both sound fantastic from every seat in the house.”