The Hope Community Church Raleigh campus recently underwent a significant sound system upgrade with a Martin Audio MLA Compact system by DP Design of Milwaukee, WI.
As DP Design founder and owner David Price explains, “We were called in to design a new audio system for the church because the original one was at the end of its life so they decided on a complete upgrade instead of replacing it.
“The worship space seats 2,000 in a room with a unique design that curves out in a fan shape. There’s a large catwalk that drops down over the audience that can block audio going to the small balcony over the main entrance door, which was one of the challenging structural elements we had to work around.
“In addition, there is raised stadium-style seating that slopes up and gets steeper towards the sides. It’s a very wide room and the Martin Audio MLA system is one of the few that has a coverage pattern wider than 120 degrees which came in handy considering the room’s design.
Typically, Hope Church has a modern type worship service with electric bands so the system had to reproduce music at higher levels as well as providing spoken word clarity for the sermons. For that, David designed a setup with eight MLA Compact per side and eight MLA Mini enclosures flown over the center of the stage in LCR configuration. This allows the church to run the pastor’s sermon through the center array for a more authentic “church-like” sound while simultaneously achieving concert quality stereo sound for the music.
A solid concrete platform stage eliminated the option of digging out cavities for the subs and there was no place to put them on or alongside the stage, so two MLX subs were flown behind the MLA Compacts on each side.
As David points out, “The Church wanted the speaker system to be very streamlined and unobtrusive despite the large catwalk and projectors, and we accomplished that. I am very happy the speakers are totally out of sight and can produce the sound levels as needed but are not a feature of the stage, just invisibly hung where they need to be.”
“MLA was the obvious choice given the need for concert-quality sound which Martin Audio is known for. Plus, the control MLA delivers helped us overcome unique acoustical problems such as the 24” I-beam under the catwalk that causes slapback and other noise issues.
“Now the church has a system that provides smooth, even coverage with exceptional rear cancellation that eliminates the unusual amount of reverberation on stage. Plus, MLA’s software is a completely different way of doing DSP where you can control what the decibel and EQ response is from front to back, which makes it very flexible and powerful. It also helped us eliminate a bass buildup problem under the balcony by the entrance doors and catwalk issues with the Hard Avoid feature.
Summing up, David adds, “It’s a uniquely challenging room with a staff that can be very picky about audio quality. I’ve been the AV provider over a year now, and for them not to have a single complaint and nothing but ‘wows’ of amazement in terms of the clarity and how good the system sounds is virtually unheard of.”
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