Orchard Hill Church, located north of Pittsburgh in Wexford, offers a striking architectural design around its beautiful 1,200-seat auditorium. Church leaders also took a chance on immersive audio, utilizing L-ISA by L-Acoustics, integrated as part of a $1.3M design-build renovation.
L-ISA Immersive Hyperreal Sound aligned with church leaders’ desire to let the message take center stage. “Often our eyes want to watch a pastor on stage but our ears pull our vision towards the PA speakers, reinforcing their voice. L-ISA technology effectively disconnects the sound from the reinforcement source, focusing and immersing audiences,” explains Josh Maichele, L-Acoustics application manager, House of Worship. “L-ISA makes the connection between sight and sound more natural, and in the process, breaks down the technical barriers to worship.”
Orchard Hill Church technical director John Cornelius was introduced to L-ISA at the L-Acoustics facility in Westlake Village near Los Angeles, where directors can experience L-ISA firsthand. Cornelius, who has been with the church for more than two decades, says he remembers going in thinking that immersive audio was kind of a gimmick. “But after a few minutes with Josh going through the system, I was all in. It was very impressive. The thing with immersive is that it’s very hard to describe, but once you experience it, it’s amazing.”
Orchard Hill Church’s new L-ISA technology, installed with assistance from integrator Key Code Media and L-Acoustics Certified Provider (CPi) Hollowood Sound, consists of five L-Acoustics arrays spread over the stage that comprises the Scene system, with two smaller outside arrays over the stage wings that make up the Extension system. The three center-most hangs feature five A15 enclosures each—four Focus over one Wide—flanked by two outer hangs of five A10, also four Focus over one Wide. Behind the center array are two hangs of three KS28 subs each. And on the far left and right side, three A10 hangs of two Focus over one Wide serve as Extension. Between the Scene and Extension arrays on each side are three A10 Focus used as outfills, bringing the flown array count to 11 hangs. In addition, 14 5XT coaxials are flush-mounted into the face of the stage for frontfill.
The Scene and Extension systems are powered by 12 LA4X amplified controllers, while two LA12X are used to drive the KS28 subs and the outfill and ancillary speakers, such as the eight X8 used to cover the very last rows of seating. The immersive system is managed by a pair of L-ISA Processors paired with an Avid VENUE S6L mixing console, and an Auvitran audio toolbox handles the MADI, AVB, and Dante format interfaces for the audio system.
“Once you learn how the L-ISA Controller works and you break your mental mode around stereo, it’s easy and even intuitive,” Cornelius says. “And the results are spectacular. It’s a great format for house of worship because we can so precisely locate the sound.” L-ISA also makes the music better. “One very specific comment I received from someone was that he could really hear the decay of the cymbals on the drum kit,” Cornelius marvels. Others have commented on how authentic and of-the-moment L-ISA has made the church’s sound. “L-ISA shows that immersive sound is truly a new kind of reality,” concludes Cornelius.