CCI Solutions Unifies Sound at First Baptist Church of LA Pt2

Show 174, Part 2
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Show 174, Part 2

SVC Podcast – Show Notes – Show 174-2

In this edition of the SVC Podcast, Contributing Editor Bennett Liles completes his talk with Duke DeJong of CCI Solutions in Olympia, Washington regarding their installation of an all new L-Acoustics sound system for the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles. Duke discusses placement of the X8 fills, the control gear and rigging the system’s main speaker array and its SB15 subs.

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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 on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at

At first they were skeptical. Can a sound system this small fill up the whole First Baptist Church of Los Angeles? The first L-Acoustics demo answered that question and instead of each group to use the church bringing in their own sound system, now they can all use the same one. Duke DeJong is going to finish telling us how CCI Solutions got it done. That’s right here on the SVC Podcast.

Duke, it’s great to have you back with us on the SVC Podcast from CCI Solutions in Olympia, Washington. We got started last week talking about the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles. They had lots of different groups using the church and all bringing in their own sound gear. CCI Solutions took all that out and put in one L-Acoustics system that does it right for everybody there even with lots of different things happening.

First of all, thanks for having me back. Yeah, it’s a very cool church right in the heart of downtown L.A., kind of right on the edge of Koreatown. It’s fascinating as you drive up to it. It’s commercial buildings and residential everywhere packed in. I can’t even imagine how many people are in that neighborhood. They’re a very, very cool place and while the church and the folks who own the building, this massive, massive building, don’t necessarily have a church themselves big enough to fill it, I love what they’ve done because they’ve essentially opened that up to multiple churches. And so they meet with their congregation Sunday mornings. There’s a Spanish church that uses the venue for Sunday afternoons. There’s a Korean church that uses it on Saturdays and some other times during the week. So it’s just really, really cool that this historic church in the middle of downtown L.A. gets to be used by so many people. But with that of course is the challenges of what do we use and do we all use our own stuff? That’s kind of what we walked into was a hodgepodge of this is ours and this is theirs and this is the other guy’s. How do we clean this all up and make it one great system that meets everybody’s needs? [Timestamp: 2:15]

And you used L-Acoustics to do that and last week we were talking about the X8 coaxials that you used for places that were difficult to get sound into with the main array. It looks like you have a wide variety of surfaces in that place.

Yeah, we really do. Being such an old building there’s a lot of nooks and crannies and coves. Over the years I’m sure some of it used to be choir lofts and some of it used to be seating for kind of special – dignitaries isn’t the right word, but you understand what I mean. And so they’re definitely out of the pattern of the main array and so we did have to use some of the coaxial speakers as both side fills as well as front fills. We’ve got the array on a 50 to 60-foot high ceiling and putting some front fills in to help bring some of that imaging down a little bit more so it doesn’t just feel like ceiling speakers. But to those people in the first dozen rows or less or so get the feeling that that imaging is coming from in front of them and not from above them. [Timestamp: 3:12]

You had the main Kiva array and some subs mounted with those. I think you also put some subs on the floor?

We did both. A room that size we definitely needed some of the SB15’s to do some of the low frequency extension with the Kiva’s. They’re a great box, but they are a small box so some low frequency extension up in the air with the array is definitely a big win. And then yeah, we’ve got a couple of the dual 28’s – the SB28’s – down on the floor. And it’s hard to fill a room that size with low frequency; at least good low frequency. The combination of the SB15’s with the flown array and the SB28’s on the floor really did a pretty good job of covering that room. [Timestamp: 3:50]

Maybe just as big a job as installing it might be the situation of all those different people operating it since they don’t have full-time tech staff so where is the front of house control point in that big place?

Well, so front of house is a portable rack located about somewhere between one third and halfway back in the room. And that was a topic. Again, everybody kind of had their own stuff so we had multiple sound consoles. We had multiple setups period. And you’re absolutely right. None of them had anybody who was we would call proficient in audio. And so we actually brought in a Yamaha TF5 console which is one of the more user-friendly consoles I’ve seen. They’ve done some really cool stuff in that to make it very user-friendly for beginning engineers and some great features in there to help those who aren’t really familiar with things like impression and noise gates and EQ’s and give them some really good starting point. And so adding that TF5 in there with a PA that is about as transparent as it gets. It’s really a great combination. [Timestamp: 4:50]

Do they also roll the amps out or are they permanently installed in a rack somewhere?

Amps live backstage. The console roles out, but Shure wireless, that’s what the system is part of the roll-out and the rest of it is all backstage. [Timestamp: 5:04]

Do they have any adjustments on the system to switch from listening to a sermon to having live music?

The only adjustment that really needs to be made is turning it up, turning it down. It really was set up to be very, very user-friendly and with these different folks in mind. So really at the end of the day it’s how much gas you need and just go ahead and turn it up and let her loose. [Timestamp: 5:24]

And with that variety of operators they probably have all different opinions on that.

[Laughs] Well, yeah. I mean you can ask any audio guy the same question and you’re going to get four different answers from three different guys. So you know, it’s one of those things where everybody definitely has their own flavor. Everybody has their own style. What’s cool in this case is what we found with L-Acoustics, one of the reasons why we use them as much as we do, is the speakers themselves are so responsive, so transparent. They just do what you want them to do. And so if you want to get a little bit more aggressive with it, with a little bit of EQ tweaks and mixing style you can get more aggressive with it. If you want it to be just kind of nice and warm and articulate without a lot of edge you can easily get there. If you want to make them sound terrible you can do that too. It will basically do whatever you want it to do, which is again one of the reasons we really do enjoy L-Acoustics boxes. [Timestamp: 6:21]

A big part of that in addition to getting all the old gear out must have been rigging the central array. We talked last week about getting that going. How big was that attic space they had up there above it?

It was fully walkable. It’s substantial. But yeah, I mean that attic space. I don’t remember the heights right off the top of my head, but it was a solid 50-60 feet up there. It’s higher than I want to go for sure, but we’ve got some guys who – in fact our lead rigger, I believe this is his 37th or 38th year on the job here, and he is just phenomenal. I would trust him to build buildings in the state of California let alone hanging arrays. So it was an adventure for sure, but having the attic space definitely made it doable. Trying to get up there without the attic space would have been awesome. [Timestamp: 7:08]

I guess every group had their own way of testing that new sound system with music and whatever else they normally do for their services and other events?

Yeah. I mean really it’s a pretty wide variety. It goes from about as liturgical as it gets to a Spanish rock band. So it gets a wide variety of use and everybody kind of tested it to the limits of what they use and everybody came out very, very happy. [Timestamp: 7:33]

That sounds like a lot to get installed. How long did it take you to get that whole thing in and working?

Well installation, we were there for about a week and a half, I believe. It’s been a little while so I’m reaching for that one. But I think it was about a week and a half we were actually on site with the wire pull and the rigging definitely being the more challenging and time consuming of the install. But we had done a programming meeting with them about a couple of months before so by the time it took us to get a design and get budgets approved and for them to pull the money together I think three to four months. [Timestamp: 8:07]

Well, at least they’ve got everybody together using the same sound system now instead of setting all their own stuff up and taking it down every time.

It’s very cool. I mean to be able to pull all those groups together in this beautiful, historic building and be able to put in systems that serve all of them well – not just tolerable, but well – I think is very, very cool. I’m very excited about it. [Timestamp: 8:29]

That was a big one for CCI Solutions so what do you have coming up next?

Oh my goodness. We’ve got crews in Indiana at the moment opening campus #4 – they’re actually technically campus #5 – it’s satellite campus #4 for Northview Church out in the Indianapolis area. And we’ll be out in Bakersfield working on another liturgical church here in a couple of weeks and we have a very full summer ahead. So it’s going to be a good year. [Timestamp: 8:54]

It sounds like it and being busy is good.


Its great of you to take time to be with us. Duke DeJong from CCI Solutions and the First Baptist Church of Los Angeles with an all new L-Acoustics sound system. Thanks for giving us the story, Duke.

Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Thanks to Duke DeJong of CCI Solutions for joining us on the SVC Podcast. Show notes and equipment links are on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at Be back with us again next week for the SVC Podcast.