New York (December 21, 2007)–Northland, A Church Distributed has four locations around central Florida locations and recently built a new 3,300-seat facility for its attendees. The new building’s sound systems includes Meyer Sound loudspeakers and a Constellation electroacoustic architecture system, the first installed in a worship facility.
“A congregation isn’t passive like the audience in a theater or concert hall. Worshippers play a vital, active role. We needed to create an environment that connects them to each other and supports their participation,” says Tim Tracey, Northland’s Executive Director of Worship. “Constellation was the solution to all our concerns.”
Constellation gives venues the ability to modify their room acoustics at the press of a button, allowing them to host a wide range of events and provide the acoustics most appropriate for them. It incorporates the physical acoustics of a space with technology and services to create flexible acoustical environments. It is a fully integrated turnkey solution based upon the company’s patented VRAS technology that combines design, calibration, and certification methodologies with a flexible hardware and software package. Each Constellation system is designed from the ground up to match the specific needs and circumstances of the venue in which it is installed.
“Constellation really encourages congregational singing, far more than any of us anticipated,” comments Tracey. “During the first service in the new room, those of us on stage were overwhelmed by the increased participation in congregational singing, compared to the old building. We could tell that they were hearing each other, and that encouraged them to sing out.”
The Northland Constellation system was designed by Sierra Madre, CA.-based Platt Design Group and installed by the Burbank office of Electrosonic Systems, Inc. The system encompasses MS-Constellation processors, MS-VRAS processors, Mic-Omni Constellation microphones, as well as UPJ-1P VariO, UPM-1P and MM-4 loudspeakers. The system is programmed with three settings corresponding to physical spaces with reverberation times of 1.7, 2.2 and 3.0 seconds. Together with “off”, for a dry characteristic, this affords four choices to adapt the room to different musical styles and either presentational or congregational sing-along selections.
For acapella groups, the church’s 60-voice choir and quieter ballad-style numbers, Constellation is engaged to envelop the congregation with acoustical ambience. The same rich ambience will also be used to good effect when Northland hosts upcoming performances by the Florida Youth Symphony Orchestra. For most rock-style worship songs, however, Constellation is turned off, allowing the MILO-based Meyer Sound loudspeaker system to function in the least reverberant setting.
Independent of the Constellation system, the sound reinforcement setup utilizes a total of 36 Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers, with 16 Milos in the center, two CQ-1s, six UPJ-1Ps, four UPM-1Ps, two CQ-2s and six M3D-Sub subwoofers. System processing and drive are supplied by a pair of Galileo loudspeaker management systems. The final system was tuned using SIM3 Audio Analyzer.
Tracey cites one specific example of how Constellation can heighten the emotional impact of music: “We were rehearsing a bluegrass gospel song, Bill Monroe’s ‘Get Up John,’ at first just using the main PA. Then we flipped on Constellation, and it was amazing. All of a sudden there was more air in the acoustic instruments and in the vocals. Instantly we had an acoustical environment that was just right for high-energy bluegrass.”