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Roswell United Methodist Church Retains Natural Acoustics With Martin Audio MLA

Roswell United Methodist Church recently upgraded their sound system with Martin Audio MLA Mini to provide more control and take advantage of their sanctuary’s natural acoustics.

Roswell, GA––The Roswell United Methodist Church recently upgraded their sound capabilities with a Martin Audio MLA Mini system that provides precise sonic control while embracing the worship sanctuary’s natural acoustic properties.

Houston Clark, principal and co-founder of Clark, the design and integration firm responsible for the installation, describes Roswell as “a very traditional church with a uniquely shaped worship space that has a high domed ceiling with exposed beams and excellent natural acoustics.

“That said,” Houston continues, “it was challenging to get a positive PA experience in such a beautiful room because we didn’t want to use a lot of acoustical treatment which would have adversely affected its visual aesthetics and natural acoustic properties.

“We were able to work closely with the church and demo the Martin Audio MLA Mini to show them the system’s unique properties and how it could solve their problems. As it turned out, they were comfortable going forward with us knowing it wouldn’t be a traditional approach to solving that room’s PA and acoustical issues.”

The system Clark came up with consists of three hangs of 8 MLA Mini enclosures with 3 MLX subs flown from the ceiling in a cardioid pattern. A MLA Mini enclosure array with four enclosures is deployed for choir monitoring. Two Yamaha CL5 consoles are used for FOH and web broadcasts.

“We wanted a PA that would make the room sound good without relying on electronics,” Houston adds. “When you use a Martin Audio speaker system, it represents a higher order of PAs among the best in the world. It’s not just that the sound is controllable––you can direct it away from certain surfaces and put it where you want it––the PA just sounds great.

“Churches like Roswell that want to embrace natural acoustics when it’s appropriate for their worship style and programming, don’t have to make the kind of trade-offs they’re used to with other systems, when deploying MLA. This is one of those instances where you come really close to having your cake and eating it too. It offers dual functionality as an amplified PA with natural sound in the same room, something that hasn’t been available until recently.

“Over the years, we’ve developed a reputation for fantastic sounding PAs,” Houston continues, “and even though Roswell UMC isn’t a rock and roll worship service type venue, the quality of the sonic signature had to be on par with all of the systems we provide. The church has a choir and a band and orchestra for traditional and more contemporary services. MLA takes advantage of both reinforced sound when you need it and natural acoustics when that’s required. This is our fourth church install with MLA and it’s proved to be a truly amazing product for very different types of sanctuaries.

“Calvary Church (Charlotte, NC) is a 5,000 seat room with two balconies and MLA has proved to be just as applicable in a large space like that. Or there’s a large asymmetrical room in the Sun Valley Community Church (Gilbert, AZ) that’s almost exclusively for rock and roll-based contemporary services, and a very modern space from the ground up at North Point Ministries’ Gwinnett Church (Atlanta, GA) where you’re trying to get consistent coverage from front to back and also avoid leakage to the neighborhood. Like all of those churches, Roswell is absolutely happy with the Martin Audio MLA solution for their worship sanctuary.”

Aaron Freeman, AV Assistant at Roswell, echoes Houston’s feelings about MLA. “The worship space seats around 2,000 and it can be challenging to get the coverage you need with the high domed ceiling and stained glass windows at the top.

“The new MLA system sounds fantastic, worlds apart from what we had,” Aaron points out. “One of the biggest ‘wins’ is that our congregants aren’t using as many hearing-assist systems. The MLA system has exceptional intelligibility. Our older congregation has been able to hear the sermon for the first time in 25 years, which might sound like an exaggeration, but is actually pretty accurate.

“We have two services, one more contemporary with electric guitar, bass and V-drums and MLA sounds great for that. For the second service, which is more traditional, the system’s allowed us to get more of the choir out of the speakers where it doesn’t sound reproduced electronically, but naturally amplified the way it’s supposed to be.

“And the control is remarkable,” Aaron sums up. “For example, you can hardly hear the Mini 4-speaker array aimed at the choir loft in the rest of the house because there are no reflections off the organ wall coming back out to the crowd.

Overall, there has been nothing but positive comments about the system. The mantra for this new installation was, ‘it has to be right.’ And Clark and MLA have done just that.”

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About Martin Audio®

Founded by audio engineer David Martin in 1971, Martin Audio pioneered the use of all-horn-loaded bass designs in world-class touring loudspeaker systems for groups such as Pink Floyd, ELP and Supertramp. Located outside of London, Martin Audio now embodies a sophisticated mix of acoustic design, research, mathematical modeling and software engineering for a wide range of products in the installation, cinema and touring sound markets.

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