Oakland, CA (March 24, 2014)—Oakland’s New Birth Church is housed in a mid-19th century Catholic Cathedral, which means the 500-seat sanctuary was a difficult acoustical environment when it came to modern audio expectations. Concord, CA-based Premier Media Integration, Inc., recently designed and upgrated audio, video, and lighting systems and acoustical treatment for the space.
Graham Cooper, president of PMI, contacted Rocky Giannetta, principal of Layer 8 Inc., to assess the room’s acoustics and assist with systems design. With Giannetta’s acoustical measurements documenting a reverb time of 3.8 seconds, Layer 8 created an EASE model and designed acoustical treatment and loudspeaker system that PMI would install. While the acoustical treatment reduced reverb to around 1.6 seconds, the environment was still challenging enough to demand an audio system that could keep reflections to a minimum.
“The church has beautiful stained glass throughout the structure,” adds Graham Cooper “Our job was to find places to put the panels that would be aesthetically and architecturally acceptable. Padded chairs, carpet, and, of course, people, also help.”
With reverb down to an almost reasonable level, Giannetta specified a new VARIA line array system from Renkus-Heinz. “We knew that despite our best efforts, the room was not going to be acoustically ideal, and we needed to maximize control of the energy,” he said. The system is comprised of six VARIA VAX101 cabinets per side, with three 7-degree boxes on top and three 15-degree boxes underneath. “With the VARIA’S variable pattern control, we were able to configure coverage from 60 degrees on top to 120 degrees on the bottom,” says Giannetta. A pair of VAX115S subwoofers per side, along with four DRS18-2 subs on the floor, provide low-end reinforcement. The system is powered by Lab.gruppen amplification.