Velocity Pro Systems recently installed and designed a new audio system with a Martin Audio Wavefront Precision Mini (WPM) array in Manhattan’s Upper West Side campus of the Redeemer Church.
Describing the installation, Velocity Pro Systems’ Scott Carman explains: “The project actually started back in 2016 because Redeemer is not just used as a church, but also as a seven day a week space for a lot of outside events such as concerts and meetings.
“The original PA was ineffective at covering the worship area because the architect had designed the room for acoustic orchestral concerts, not electric music. It’s an unusually shaped space, very wide and shallow that holds between 600 and 700 with a large, low hanging balcony that hangs as close to the stage as the fifth row of the orchestra. So they had to bring in rental PAs for these different events which weren’t working well in terms of rigging and coverage.
“The church wanted us to provide something they described ‘rider friendly,’ a top quality system that covered the entire room with the highest level of intelligibility and musicality overall. Back when we first started talking, Martin Audio MLA was the most obvious solution, but then Wavefront Precision was available at a more realistic price point which led to the decision to go with WPM.
“Musically they do a blended service with just an acoustic piano and also contemporary worship with electric instruments and caged drums so there’s a wide dynamic range to deal with, especially when you factor in the outside events.
“The church has commented on the even coverage and how there’s clarity at every seat with the new system. They’re very happy because we’ve accomplished exactly what they asked us to do and they really like the system’s warmth and musicality, all of which doesn’t come at the expense of intelligibility and that’s the hallmark of Martin Audio’s voicing.”
Adding more details about the install’s challenges, Velocity’s Mike Sessler adds, “We basically had to shoehorn a PA into a room that wasn’t designed for it with a huge area to cover plus under balcony areas that needed to get covered as well.
“The floors were concrete with drywall and stucco walls, so every surface was hard and reflective with no acoustic treatment in the space. That, plus the space designed for unamplified sound so it was very live with a reverb time of about 3 ½ to 4 seconds and the seating angle is almost 170 degrees on the floor with a steep balcony that’s even wider, adding up to a very wide coverage area. When you’re sitting in the top row of the balcony you’re looking at the highest position we could possibly hang a PA.”
To eliminate these problems, Velocity designed a system that includes eight WPM a side with three SX118 subs flown in the center. Amps included a single iK81 a side with one-box resolution and an iK42 for the subs with CDD6’s for under balcony fills.
Asked about the results, Mike responds, “The system sounds really good and what was super-impressive to me––and this was my first WPM deployment––was how the system performed exactly as predicted by Display and EASE. When we commissioned the system and fed all the data into Display, let it calculate all the FIR filters it needed to optimize the system, loaded that into the amps and took a trace with SMAART, it was basically done. We had no other EQ on the system other than what Display calculated and it was all less than ± 2dB over the whole space which is incredible. The worst seats in the house are only 3dB down.
“We did have to make a few adjustments in terms of system tuning after the initial installation because of the crazy slap back we were getting from the front of what is a tall balcony face. The Hard Avoid® setting helped us significantly reduce that and Joe Lima of Martin Audio created an additional preset that effectively shuts off the balcony when it’s not being used, a really great use of the system’s DSP.
“Sound wise, we’ve got plenty of headroom in the system and the clarity is really stunning. I was very impressed not only by how even the system is front to back and side to side, but how musical it sounds and how coherent the voice is which is really good, especially in a room with those reverb times. The church is very happy with the way the system sounds and how everything turned out.”
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