In this edition of the SVC Podcast, Contributing Editor Bennett Liles concludes his talk with Duke DeJong of CCI Solutions in Olympia, Washington about the sound system renovation they did for Calvary Community Church in nearby Sumner. Normally, much of the story would be getting the old system out and dealing with surprises in the process but the previous system had been installed by CCI Solutions themselves 15 years before and through their documentation they had all the needed facts on the existing setup. Then the new L-Acoustics WIFO system had a clear path to installation and service.
Links of interest:
- CCI Solutions in Olympia, Washington
- L-Acoustics ARCS WIDE Constant Curvature WST Line Source
- L-Acoustics ARCS FOCUS Constant Curvature Medium Throw Line Source
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This is the SVC Podcast from Sound & Video Contractor Magazine with Duke DeJong of CCI Solutions. Show notes and equipment links for the podcast are ready on the magazine website at svconline.com.
Calvary Community Church in Sumner, Washington saved their resources for years and were finally ready to get a new sound system. For that, they went back to an old friend. CCI Solutions was brought in to upgrade and modernize a sound setup that they had installed many years before. Duke DeJong is here to finish the story on how they got it right again. Next up on the SVC Podcast.
Duke, thanks for getting back with us for Part 2 here on the SVC Podcast. CCI Solutions came into the Calvary Community Church in nearby Sumner and revamped and modernized the sound system you originally did for them years before. A somewhat easier job getting the old speaker system out since you had put it all in. But the complicating factor on church installs usually seems to be the quick timeframe.
One of the challenges we always have in working with churches is Sunday is always coming soon, so with a project like this we’ve always got to get things done between Sundays. On a larger project it always definitely makes it interesting. This project, however, with it being primarily a PA upgrade, we were able to roll in Monday morning. And fortunately, pulling the old speakers out, especially as large as they were, gravity takes pretty good care of that. Once we detached from the ceiling they come down pretty fast. [Laughs] So it’s – yeah, it all went really fast and we were able to replace a handful of very, very large refrigerator-sized speakers that were put in gosh, 15-plus years ago, and replaced it with a couple of ARCS WIFO arrays. And so installation super-smooth, super-easy and making that deadline, in fact we were ready to rock at rehearsal at the end of the week. [Timestamp: 2:13]
Not frequently the case and I guess you would have to deal with a real tight timeframe by applying a few more crew people to the job. But they had made a lot of visual changes to the services since you put the previous audio system in.
Yeah. They’ve grown a lot over the years and they’ve done a lot of work themselves and been putting in new projectors and some various screens. They’re a very creative church so they do a lot of creative elements both with lighting and projection. So definitely making the speaker system a smaller footprint was a big win visually, but the biggest win by far was the clarity and the consistency through the room now that the PA can bring. And so now the audio quality matches or exceeds what they’re trying to do visually, which is just fantastic. [Timestamp: 2:57]
And since they are a very progressive church I would think that they do a lot more things in there than just a regular Sunday service.
Yeah, absolutely. They’ll fill the room up round tables and do conference-type and training events on a regular basis. It’s always fun to see churches really maximize usage of their building. Sometimes you’ll get a church that will build a big, nice building and there’s only people in there once or twice a week. These guys run hard and serve their community well and they really use that facility pretty well. [Timestamp: 3:25]
And I think they’re doing video as well in there.
Yeah. Not only there, but they have some campuses in other parts of town and so video is both a key part of their presentation as well as how they deliver content to other sites. [Timestamp: 3:38]
To make sure all of that works every time I would think that they control all of the video and sound from the same place if the architecture allows that.
Yeah, I mean they’ve got a pretty simple operation. They’ve got a front-of-house booth in the back of the room and they run pretty lean and mean. But they’re doing some really great work and like I said, they’ve got an updated audio system now that will keep up with them, which is fantastic. [Timestamp: 4:00]
The changes over the years in video and lighting and projection probably didn’t make any basic changes to the power system. Looks like you probably knew what you were getting into there as far as power.
Yeah. Fortunately we didn’t have to mess with a whole lot there on the electrical side. I mean the reality is the ARCS WIFO system that we put in was really probably just a little bit more power efficient than what we had in there before. So from really most aspects this was probably one of the easier projects we’ll do most years. You know, all the infrastructure is pretty solidly in place and we took down double the weight we put back up. So it was one of the smooth ones. It was nice to have. [Timestamp: 4:38]
It could have been a lot worse and I’m sure that sometime you get into one where there are ground loops and power issues between lights and sound. Maybe some home-brew systems that have been installed by volunteers and I’m sure you’ve run into your share of those.
We definitely have. Fortunately we’ve got a pretty significant legacy of having really great infrastructure and designing great infrastructure. And so the good news is most of the time when the budget allows and the church listens to us, because of our infrastructure designs we don’t run into too many of those problems until somebody does something interesting. And fortunately with this one that was the case. This was a church that we got to build many, many years ago and between tech power and good infrastructure again, everything pretty clean. [Timestamp: 5:25]
Well, everything must have worked pretty well with the first sound system because by this time there was probably a higher level of competition for their business and they came back to CCI Solutions again so that’s got to say something.
Yeah. It’s always a joy when somebody we worked with 15-20 years ago comes back to us and says it’s time to upgrade. I mean we’d love them to come back in 7-10 years, but even at 15-20 if they come back and say man, it’s time to upgrade and you’re our guys it’s an honor because it tells us that we served well last time and they know that we’ll continue to serve them well and we’ve built a good relationship with them over the time. [Timestamp: 5:57]
So you got it all hooked up. How did you go through and tune it to that specific building? That must have been the fun part.
Sure. The project lead for the project, Mark Pearson, has handled a lot of our larger projects over the course of the last 15 years and he ran this one. L-Acoustics is one of those speakers that seems like it’s always pretty easy to tune so we can usually roll in there with a smart setup and once we get all the timing dialed in between the subs and the mains and any fills if there are any – and there weren’t in this one – but once we get all the timing set up it seems like we usually don’t have to do a lot to it. Maybe just a few minor things to kind of tame some room acoustical topics, but he was able to come in and spend an afternoon and really get it sounding great before rehearsal. [Timestamp: 6:45]
The contractor comes in and gets everything to a certain level where it’s technically good with no dead spots and things. The congregation though, doesn’t know about all of that but they know what they like. So how was it when you unleashed this new system on the church people?
Yeah, Mark was there and the response just was fantastic. I mean people who had, you know, their seat – their seat because they’ve got their own seat [Laughs] – could hear clearly, could hear speech clearly; could understand and didn’t have to strain to hear. Everything was just so much warmer and had more fullness to it. It’s always fun when there’s a dramatic change one, because nobody ever questions spending the money when there’s a dramatic change so everybody feels good about it. But it’s always fun to be in a room when all of a sudden there’s just extreme clarity and warmth and fullness. And regardless of what you’re doing, whether it’s a church service or a concert of whatever, you just see people really engaged because of how good it sounds and feels. It always makes this job a lot more fun when we get to see that. [Timestamp: 7:48]
As you mentioned at the beginning of Part 1, it’s all about communication and it’s a very basic aim of churches and having a new sound system like this moves them to a new level on that communication goal. Thanks for telling us about this one how it all worked. This is Duke DeJong from CCI Solutions in Olympia, Washington and the completely new sound setup for Calvary Community Church. Great hearing about it, Duke.
Great having you with us for SVC Podcast. There are some show notes and equipment links for this one on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine and that’s at svconline.com. Next week, get back here with us again for the next SVC Podcast.