“I know it's a cliché, but the difference really has been night and day,” Hartley contends. “When we measured the old system, we were coming up with variations of plus or minus 12 decibels. Now we're seeing plus or minus two, from side to side and front to back, and the clarity is simply astonishing.”
Achieving this degree of uniformity was no trivial task. The main campus auditorium, by far the largest of Lake Pointe's four-site ministry, holds about 5,000 in one level of raked seating that forms a near 180-degree semicircle. Because of the long throw to the back row, the old system resorted to a delay ring. Installing new delay rings over fixed seats onto a hard ceiling would have been prohibitively time consuming.
“We can't shut down the church for even one week,” Hartley says. “Between â€˜Amen' at noon on Sunday and 7 p.m. Wednesday, we had to get it all done. Fortunately, Meyer Sound offered a solution with MICA arrays, which would provide coverage all the way to the back-row seats.”
The formidable task of vastly improving the sound within 79 hours was entrusted to Alpharetta, Ga.–based Clark (formerly Clark ProMedia). The new loudspeaker system, designed by company co-founder and principal George Clark, in collaboration with independent consultant Will Sargent, is anchored by four arrays with 14 MICA loudspeakers each. “MICA was ideal because of the power-to-weight ratio,” Clark observes. “The room was big enough for MILOs, but we had weight restrictions on the existing structure. In the end, the MICAs worked extremely well.”
To cover the front rows, six DF-4 down-fill loudspeakers and 15 M1D loudspeakers are spaced around the semicircular stage lip. Meanwhile, propulsive bass is generated by 18 700-HP subwoofers, with everything tied together and optimized by a Galileo® loudspeaker management system with three Galileo 616 processors.
After the system was tuned by Sargent using a SIM® 3 audio analyzer, Hartley was startled by the transformation of sound in the room. “The detail is stunning,” he relates. “With the old system, we'd be hard-pressed to pick any instrument out of the mix: â€˜Oh, is he playing his electric guitar on this song?' Now I not only hear the guitar clearly, but I can tell if it's the Shure or the Sennheiser mic on the amplifier cab.”
The new system quickly earned accolades from church leadership, including those on the elder board who backed the renovation. “They were tired of the old harsh, penetrating, squinting sound,” Hartley reports. “They wanted a full, warm, and enveloping sound, and that's exactly what we have now.”
The new system at the main Rockwall campus was the second Lake Pointe installation for Clark, which also designed and installed a system employing Meyer Sound M1D line arrays and 700-HP subwoofers at the smaller 500-seat Firewheel campus. “They knocked that one over the fence as far as design and integration,” Hartley says, “so when it came time to do our Rockwall auditorium, it was an easy process. They already understood the DNA of our church.”