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NYC’s Times Square Church is home to new L-Acoustics K3i loudspeaker arrays supplied and installed by SES Integration.00000

Times Square Church Upgrades With DiGiCo Quantum & L-Acoustics K3i

SES Integration installs new system to match the visual splendor of a New York City landmark that's headed by a Quantum338 desk and K3i main arrays.

Times Square Church (TSC) on West 51st Street in Manhattan’s Theatre District, which dates back to 1930 when it opened as a movie palace known as the Warner Hollywood Theatre and is now an interdenominational house of worship, has been equipped with a new sound reinforcement system utilizing L-Acoustics K3i main arrays and a DiGiCo Quantum338 mixing console, both of which were installed by Special Event Services (SES) Integration (based in Concord, NC).

Pastor David Wilkerson, author of The Cross and the Switchblade, repurposed the space as church in 1991, choosing to preserve the venue’s modern façade and rococo interior that are now New York City landmarks.

Over the course of the pandemic, according to local ordinances, the church closed its doors as a public worship space for 18 months, allowing church leaders to undergo a reassessment of the AVL facilities. For many years, TSC had employed a touring rider-friendly audio setup that included an L-Acoustics V-DOSC and dV-DOSC rig paired with DiGiCo SD10 mixing consoles for both front-of-house and monitors, but the gear was starting to show its age. Further, the system’s subwoofers were in a cavity under the stage that flooded six years ago, rendering them unusable, which meant that the tech team was leaning on the mains also to deliver low-end reinforcement for TSC’s sizable worship team.

“On a typical Sunday, we have a drum set, bass, multiple guitars, organ, keyboards, a full choir of 60 to 100 people, as well as up to ten singers on stage, so we have a ton going on through the PA,” says TSC production director Luke LaPrairie. “When considering a new loudspeaker design, we were looking to provide better coverage throughout the room, so everyone attending would have an equal experience. We also needed to improve frequency response accuracy. We wanted to ensure that what happened onstage would come across to the audience with as much fidelity and passion as what was being performed.”

But there were a few obstacles to overcome first, adds SES Integration director Trey Blair. “One challenge we had was the space itself,” says Blair, who previously served as a FOH engineer for Elevation Church before joining SES six years ago. “It’s a gorgeous room, so we couldn’t change anything about it. We couldn’t create more room where there wasn’t any like we can in new construction. We had to fit the new PA where the old one was; plus, we had to unobtrusively add subs to the room to support the church’s highly dynamic worship style.”

Blair also notes that the new system must ensure that the spoken word of Tim Dilena, TSC’s senior pastor for the past two years, could be clearly heard in every seat, including those at the very back of the venue and under the balcony. “We utilized Soundvision to create a model of the space, then acoustically modeled several L-Acoustics solutions in the room, and K3i won hands-down every time. We needed the impact of a big box but couldn’t have the size of a traditional large-format PA, so K3i fit the bill perfectly and left room for us to fly the subs beside it,” he explains. “Plus, its adjustable Panflex technology played a big part in the design of the arrays’ upper enclosures, allowing us to very effectively reach the top of the balcony without energizing the hard surfaces on the walls.”

Primarily utilizing the former sound system’s rigging points, SES Integration was able to fly a dozen L-Acoustics K3i enclosures alongside six KS21i subs to the left and right sides of the stage. A single coaxial X8 mounted to the wall below each sub hang provides far left and right fill, while five ultra-compact 5XT aesthetically mounted into the face of the stage deliver front-fill coverage. Several X12 located upstage left and right provide choir-fill, while an additional pair downstage serve as wedges for the pastoral team and worship leaders.

TSC FOH engineer Francisco Mota manning the house mix on the church’s new DiGiCo Quantum338 mixing console.

To complement the room’s revamped loudspeaker design, SES also deployed a new DiGiCo Quantum338 to serve as the church’s FOH console. This shares a newly-integrated fiber-optic loop with TSC’s twin existing SD-Racks and SD10 consoles: one continuing to facilitate monitor mixes, with the other being repurposed as a dedicated broadcast console for the church’s recently-constructed broadcast mix room. Each of the SD10s was upgraded with the latest SD10+ software for additional features and input channels, and SES also supplied a DiGiCo Orange Box loaded with DMI-Optocore and DMI-MADI cards to facilitate connection to the church’s video router for embedded audio.

“The Quantum338 was our first choice for this project,” Blair says. “It fits into the church’s existing hardware ecosystem and gives them the right channel count, bus count, control surface functionality, and I/O connectivity to serve them today and well into the future. The musicians at Times Square Church are top-notch, given the amazing talent pool that New York City has to offer, and this desk gives the church’s audio team such a great palette of tools to shape a beautiful mix.”

TSC FOH engineer Francisco Mota states, “I’m really enjoying the Quantum338’s Dynamics and Mustard processing. I use a combination of the board’s processors and Waves, but I can’t deny that I prefer to make my vocal mix solid on the DiGiCo processing as much as possible. I also particularly love the ability to move and assign faders on the fly, and both the Snapshot and Solo-in-Place features have been very helpful.”

For LaPrairie, the choice of adding another DiGiCo console was the right direction given the church’s double, and continuing, successes with the SD-Range desks. “We’re going on eight years with our SD10s, and the fact that we’ve had no major failures with them impresses me a lot,” he notes. “That reliability combined with their Waves integration and the amount of flexibility they offer helped drive our decision to upgrade our FOH position with a Quantum338.”

With the new L-Acoustics and DiGiCo gear in place, the church now has a system that keeps up with its dynamic and high-energy worship team. “This system is keeping the thousands of worshipers that come to TSC on their feet,” Mota concludes. “I love the Quantum338 combined with the K3i—the warmth and clarity are all there. The impact it’s had on the audience is incredible, and the responses I’ve heard are overwhelming.”

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For over twenty years, Primacoustic has been providing acoustic solutions for a noisy world. Our background is in Pro Audio, helping top recording studios sound their best, and we’ve made it our mission to bring this expertise to all kinds of spaces affected by poor sound. With a growing range of Innovative products, knowledgeable staff, and helpful tools, we’ll guide you from concept to installation, so you can enjoy exceptional spaces.