Princeton Pike Church of God, in the northern Cincinnati suburb of Hamilton, Ohio, has been around since 1928, and its worship spaces have continually grown. By the time the congregation began meeting in its new sanctuary— nearly 3,000 seats in 2001—it was clear the sound reinforcement systems were not keeping up. As part of a sweeping upgrade, they chose L-Acoustics L-ISA immersive sound technology for the main auditorium, in part to improve the acoustical and emotional connection between the large stage and the fanshaped seating area.
“The system we replaced was the original install from 21 years ago, and we wanted something forward-thinking enough for the next two decades,” says Princeton Pike Church of God Production Director Eric Chancey. “The difference in cost between the L-ISA-based design and a standard left-right stereo system for us was barely five figures. Our church board looked at the numbers and realized that this is where church sound is going. We didn’t want to look back and think we’d missed the boat.”
Chip Self, owner and CEO of Cignal Systems, the AV division of St. Louis-based Logic Systems integrated the L-Acoustics system. The setup is seven Scene arrays, the centermost five each being comprised of three A15i Focus flown over a single A15i Wide. These are flanked by two more Scene arrays of three smaller A10i Focus over one A10i Wide, with Extension arrays of one A10i Focus over two A10i Wide hung even farther out. All A15i and A10i systems are suspended using custom-engineered and fabricated Logic Systems exoskeleton plate systems.
Additional loudspeaker systems include left and right out-fill arrays of two A15i Focus over two A15i Wide, 13 ultra-compact 5XT coaxials spread out across the stage lip for spatial front-fill, five X12 stage wedges, a dozen flown 12KS21i subs, and 12 LA4X and seven LA2Xi amplified controllers. This is all controlled via a brand-new L-ISA Processor II that was purchased with a standard 16-output licensing level to best match the church’s relatively modest production needs and significantly minimize the cost of entry into an immersive system.
Onstage, a pair of KLANG:vokal 3D inear monitor mix processors provide up to two dozen individual mixes at 48 kHz and 96 kHz via KLANG:kontrollers for wireless IEM monitors. “This was a huge leap of faith into immersive sound,” says Self, “not only the L-ISA-controlled PA system but also the KLANG 3D monitoring. Moving into immersive with one system is a huge undertaking, particularly for a house of worship, but to do so with a second system is really taking on a lot—they literally went from mono to the cutting edge of sound. But they also realize that immersive audio is the way forward for churches.”
Self says the church turned down an offer to initially use the system without immersion and decided to start the learning curve right away with Self pacing the training. “We’re finding the tech staff loves it,” he says. “On one level, it’s more complicated, but on another level, they don’t have to make allowances for the elements in the sound, such as carving out EQ for certain things. With L-ISA, everything has a place. As a result, volunteers are finding it easier to mix. There’s way less use of EQ and dynamics, and the sound breathes more.”