A new technical infrastructure that includes a sound reinforcement system headed by Martin Audio Wavefront Precision (WPS) line arrays has been installed to serve the sanctuary at River City Christian Church in Rancho Cordova, CA.
The AV integration project was undertaken by Sacramento Production Services (SACPS). Their Project Manager, Keith Wackford, co-designed the sound system with the church Director of Technology, Brian Webber. Both are long-term colleagues who have more than 10 years of working with Martin Audio systems.
Upgrades Were Necessary
The church had been faced with the need to expand its facilities due to a surge in attendance prior to the pandemic. An architect was brought in and the decision taken to move from all flat seating to stadium style arena seating. By also reducing the stage thrust, this would expand capacity from 850 to around 1,200. “In addition, the previous control booth was up on the balcony but the new one has been relocated to the audience area, so we can hear exactly what the audience is experiencing,” states Webber.
Tasked with replacing the system, Webber approached Wackford, and WPS was chosen following a demo. The decision had not been straightforward, as they first reviewed two other recognized brands. But the church technical director always had his eye on WPS.
“When SACPS first bought a WPM system a few years ago and it was obvious the tech behind it was next generation,” Webber explains. “But then we got WPS on demo and put that next to the WPM, and I knew I had to have it. I was super impressed with the smooth, rich sound. It was a no-brainer.”
He recognized it would be a challenge to work within the room’s acoustics, adding, “But it’s great to have the audio only where it needed to be and not where you don’t. You really can’t hear anything behind the PA, no slapback, and all the energy is focused to the seating areas. We loaded the DISPLAY export file into the iKON amps and other than notching out a couple of frequencies, we basically ran the system straight out of the box.”
The design utilizes eight WPS line elements a side in two hangs, spread 40 feet apart. They’re trimmed to avoid obstructing sightlines to the sanctuary’s new LED video display. In addition, five Martin Audio SXC118 subwoofers have been placed in an arc across the front. They’re powered by six channels of process-controlled Martin Audio iKON iK42 amplifiers and optimized using the company’s proprietary sub array calculator, as well as EASE prediction software. The subs were chosen for both their compact size and the ability to utilize a cardioid pattern to send more of the bass to the listening areas and have a higher rejection to the rear of the cabinets. Doing this helps to eliminate additional low-frequency information onto the stage.
In addition, Martin Audio CDD (Coaxial Differential Dispersion) Series loudspeakers been selected for fill duties. “The two CDD115’s cover the extreme sides as it’s a super wide building,” Webber explains. He adds that a further four CDD6’s take care of front fill. The main PA hangs and CDD loudspeakers are run from iK81 8-channel amplifiers. Finally, River City Christian also utilizes CDD12 and CCD8 loudspeakers to provide coverage in the facility’s children’s room.
Software & Installation
Martin Audio’s proprietary DISPLAY software modeled the room, with optimizations carried out by Wackford. “We worked with [Martin Audio’s] Joe Lima on [how] to get a design concept going—based on EASE data—and input the numbers into DISPLAY,” he says. “Joe went through the DISPLAY file while final system tuning was occurring and was able to make a few final tweaks to the file, reducing the dB offset from first seat to last. We achieved total feedback rejection, despite the PA being quite a bit upstage thanks to the Hard Avoid functions of Wavefront Precision. You couldn’t have got away with any other rig.”
This was complemented by further onsite tweaks and calculations to the design as the system went in—the measurements reconfirmed by Martin Audio’s Will Harris, along with Wackford. A laser measurement was also undertaken at installation on the stage to verify that the field drawings matched those within DISPLAY. All of this was done to help ensure that the system would meet or exceed client expectations.
The new system is tasked with reinforcing two styles of service: a classic worship, with choir and orchestra along with a pastor and celebrants on wireless microphone systems; and a more modern, high-energy style that includes a five-piece worship band.
“Consistency is one of the most impressive parts of this installation; from front to back and left to right the coverage at every seat is amazing,” Wackford says. “People we have brought in to hear the new sound system have all commented on its consistency. Furthermore, there’s nothing harsh about the sound—it’s easy to listen to for hours, it’s just so smooth and you don’t get fatigued. The system simply tailors the speaker presets to the room via the DISPLAY file.”
Webber concludes, “The ability to custom build a system and tailor it to your building without having to boost anything is scarcely believable.”