Louisville, KY—March 2018… Led by fiery, passionate Pastor Chuck Salvo, On Fire Christian Center is well named. Pastor Salvo’s powerful sermons are backed by a hard-driving rock-infused praise band—this is not your traditional service.
The center took over an existing church building in 2001. “The building has been home to three or four different churches over the years,” offers David Knight of system integrators Knight Audio. “It has a 30 foot peaked ceiling, and it’s narrow and long, not a fan-shape. The sanctuary seats about 500 to 600.
Until recently the congregation made do with an outdated sound system based on two huge loudspeakers per side, each with a combination of dual 15-inch woofers, dual 10-inch mid-bass horns and tweeters, plus two subwoofers on each side on the floor. “It was loud but not a good sounding loud,” states Knight. “The system was not suited for the room or the volume and type of service they have. Halfway to the back of the room, it lost the clarity and intelligibility for voices.”
Earlier this year, the center brought in Knight Audio to design and install a new system based on Renkus-Heinz VARIAi modular point-source line arrays. The system comprises left and right arrays with one Renkus-Heinz VAX101i-7 full-range array with a 60° configuration on top, a VAX101i-15 module with a 60ºx90º transitional waveguide in the middle, and another VAX101i-15 with a 90°x120º transitional waveguide on the bottom. Each module features one high-power 10-inch low-frequency woofer; the VAX101i-7 couples the woofer with one 1-inch neodymium high-frequency driver, while the VAX101i-15 employs two high-frequency drivers. Five CFX81 point source loudspeakers across the front of the platform provide front fill.
“Because everything is exposed in the ceilings, running power to amplifiers in the array would have been an issue, so we chose the non-powered VAX version of the VARIAi loudspeakers and matched them with Crown amplifiers,” Knight observes.
To deliver the sub-lows for the band’s powerful sound, Knight placed a pair of Renkus-Heinz CFX218 subwoofers on the floor at center stage, flanked by a pair of CFX118 subs on the sides of the platform.
The CFX218’s high-power dual 18-inch woofers provide low-frequency output extending down below 40 Hz and delivers a peak SPL output of up to 129 dB, providing the muscle required for On Fire’s needs. “We have enough bass in their subs that you can stand in the back of the church and feel it hitting your chest,” Knight declares. The speakers are managed with a Biamp Tesira DSP. A Behringer X32 digital console completes the system.
The speakers in the old system were so huge—”the size of a VW,” laughs Knight—that Pastor Salvo was initially unsure that the compact Renkus-Heinz VARIAi system could do the job. “I wish I’d had a camera to capture his face when he saw these little VARIAi boxes,” Knight recalls. “You could see he was thinking, ‘oh man, what did I do?’ But Renkus-Heinz VARIAi speakers are an excellent compact loudspeaker system that really puts out. They deliver all the sound the church needs. The Renkus-Heinz system looks far better than the old system as well.”
Knight used VARIAi on another install last year, so he was familiar with the series. “We’d heard them before, so we knew how they sound and what they’re capable of,” he confirms. “We knew they were the right speakers for this job. They’re compact, and they’re efficient so we didn’t have to hang a lot of boxes. Price-wise, they were very competitive, which is always a factor.”
With the new Renkus-Heinz VARIAi system up and running, all concerns about the church’s sound have been put to rest. “They’ve very happy with the VARIAi system,” reports Knight. “It sounds great, spoken word is intelligible everywhere in the space, and when the praise band starts rocking, the VARIAi system delivers. There’s no question that VARIAi was the right choice.”