By Clive Young
Lakeville, MN (December 19, 2006)–The current home of Celebration Church was built four years ago, and like many new worship facilities, when it came time to purchase a sound system for the building, the budget was close to the breaking point. An opportunity came along to purchase a solid, if used, system that would tide the 1,100-seat sanctuary over until a full PA could be purchased. Now the theater-style facility installed a new Electro-Voice Xi rig a few weeks ago, just in time for Christmas.
The Country Christmas production at Lakeville, MN’s Celebration Church benefited from a new EV Xi rig.When the facility first got up and running, obviously it needed an audio system of some sort, regardless of where things stood with funding. “We were very fortunate to happen upon some used JBL cabinets a couple weeks before the first service in this room,” said Lance Lundstrom, head of audio (and Lowell’s son). “Mars Music [a now-defunct, national MI retailer] was closing, and this particular store in our area had a stage for concerts. We purchased their six JBL SRX cabinets (three per side), four SRX dual 18’s and a Crown MacroTech 5000 for $15,000. All things considered, they have served us very well for the past few years; we have become known as one of the best sounding churches in the area.”
While the system worked for the facility, it had been designed for a small stage at a music store, not a 1,100-seat church, so coverage was very uneven. “Because the room does function as a sanctuary most of the time, the uneven pattern of the old system sometimes caused problems with congregation members concerned about sound levels,” said Lundstrom. “If you took three steps away from FOH, you were listening to something totally different.”
The Church’s annual Country Christmas production is one of the highlights of the year, so the aim was to have a new system installed in time to support the show, which draws upwards of 18,000 people annually. Working with St. Paul, MN-based EV dealer Metro Sound and Lighting and installer Audio Logic (Bloomington, MN), the church approached the new system with the imperative that that the room be very even.
“We chose the XI-1183 cabinet in an L-C-R configuration with four X-Subs and four XI-1082s as front fills,” said Lundstrom. “They are all powered by EV P3000RL amps running Iris-Net software to control DSP. We looked into different line array options but nothing seemed to make sense for the room; we would have been purchasing line array just for the sake of having line array.”
All of the installation took place during the week of dress rehearsals for the production. “The prospect of mixing a sold out show with 70 cast members and musicians on a new system installed and operational for less than 48 hours was a bit daunting but I knew the outcome would be well worth it as long as everything functioned properly,” he said. As the production played over the ensuing weeks, Lundstrom got used to the new system and reported that the coverage and clarity allowed for mixing at lower SPLs. Meanwhile, the JBL system hasn’t been forsaken; instead, it has been split up and repurposed for the Church’s youth and kids rooms.
“On our last weekend of six performances, we did not receive any negative comments about sound, where previously we would expect a handful per show,” said Lundstrom. “That’s not to suggest that we measure quality of sound in complaints, but rather, I think it speaks to the smoothness of the system and the ability to deliver what I hear at FOH to the rest of the room.”