Arkansas Church Keeps The Faith With Martin Audio In New Facility

by | Audio, Case Studies

A new chapel has been built for multipurpose uses on First Pentecostal Church’s campus in North Little Rock, AR. It’s been equipped with Martin Audio O-Line compact column arrays as main loudspeakers. These speakers were specified and installed by Spectrum Sound of Nashville.

Design Requirements for the New System

Three years ago, the church became the world’s first adopter of Martin Audio’s then-new Wavefront Precision Compact and Mini optimized arrays in a system upgrade in its main gathering space. This time, however, the PA needed to reinforce events in a 2-level, 280-seat space. It was “too large for our rotunda space, too small for our sanctuary, and not quite casual enough to be held in our Great Hall,” said Zachary Ward, Director of Communications for First Pentecostal Church.

Ward confirms that brand continuity was based on the “exemplary” Wavefront Precision performance in the main space. However, the decision was not taken before carefully scanning the market to compare options. “We considered multiple brands and models but ultimately it was Spectrum Sound who, after seeing the space, recommended we take a look at O-Line, a product which none of us had even heard about at that point.”

He adds, “The new room presents an auditory challenge as the floors are of tile and the ceiling is more than 40 feet high, creating quite a reverberant space. Added to that is the need to reliably produce clear, intelligible speech during a sermon or dinner involving a speaker while also being capable of producing rich, vibrant music and vocals during a time of worship. We feel that the Martin Audio system accomplishes these demands well.”

The Solution

To achieve this, Spectrum deployed two hangs of 16-deep O-Line. They ran them in 2-box resolution from a pair of Martin Audio iKON iK81 amplifiers. This included a pair of white floor-mounted SX218 subwoofers placed unobtrusively between some large floor-to-ceiling columns, powered by an iK42.

Spectrum Sound Sales Manager Ken DeBelius arranged the original presentation. He says, “Although there are a number of column-style small-format line-source arrays using 2- or 3- drivers, no other brands can match this, especially when considering the overall vertical coverage scalability required in this project.

“O-Line is unique,” he continues, “because it allows the flexibility of a traditionally curved larger line source but in a package that fits a space like this chapel much better aesthetically. And adding Martin Audio’s Wavefront Precision magic really optimizes what is possible as to the acoustical radiation from such a compact solution.”

Prior to installation, Spectrum Sound pre-assembled the system components in their workshop and flew them at tri, to test performance. “We were happy with the sonic result right at the outset and adding the dual 18-inch subs made it a truly full-range system,” DeBelius notes.

Acoustic Challenges

One challenge on the project is the room’s acoustic challenges. There are an abundance of hard, reflective architectural surfaces that can compromise intelligibility and foster too much reverberation.  Another challenge was presented by the separate upper balcony seating section. “I was loath to add a set of delay fill loudspeakers, once again with aesthetic considerations being a major concern,” DeBelius says. “Thus, the main arrays needed to be capable of projecting up into the balcony, and this they did extremely well.”

Tuning and design were carried out utilizing Martin Audio’s proprietary Display software. They also used construction drawings and on-site measurements. In addition to powering the main system, the spare channels on the four-channel amplifier were wired with stage connectivity for use with passive floor monitors. “For now, the system is being driven analog by a small mixing console, but later on—with the upgrade to a larger console—they can drive the system via Dante directly into the iKON amplifiers,” he states.

The Result?

DeBelius notes that the design approach was somewhat unconventional. Normally he would incorporate AV/lighting systems into each phase of the design. However, this time Spectrum strove to realize the pastor’s visual, structural and implementation goals first. “We then asked our lighting and sound teams to design a system to fit the room,” he continues. “O-Line has certainly proven itself capable of meeting the demands placed on it by the unique aspects of our design and installation needs.

“While the hardware performance is exemplary, it’s the installation and follow-up teams that really set this experience apart from others we have had in the past; after all, your hardware is only as good as the installation and tuning.”

Overall, they were very pleased with this new loudspeaker system.

Martin Audio

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