For Chris Gille, Eastside’s CTO and chief systems engineer, the ready-made LEOPARD arrays turned out to be the ideal solution to a vexing problem common to nearly all portable churches borrowing gymnasiums for worship.
“We have extremely high standards for audio quality at our main campus, where we have Meyer Sound MICA arrays and Constellation active acoustics,” he says. “I knew the smaller LEOPARD would be a good fit here, but the question was, ‘Where do we put them?’ Flying was problematic because we didn’t want to be locked into fixed seating layouts. Also, there are strict regulations about clearance for sports activities and safety, which meant motorising the hangs. All of that would be cost prohibitive.”
The eventual design solution was a collaborative effort, with a ready-made solution mounted on carts proposed by Meyer Sound House of Worship Specialist Daniel Rivera and further developed by Gille and T.C. Furlong of the eventual system supplier, Lake Forest, Illinois-based TC Furlong, Inc.
“It works extremely well,” says Gille. “It sends out a narrow lobe that skims peoples’ heads, and it’s a perfect match for the room’s acoustic treatments. We have more than enough headroom to let the worship band go anywhere they want musically, even if we pull out the bleachers and fill the room to its maximum of 800 people.”
The complete system comprises six LEOPARD line array loudspeakers and two 900-LFC low-frequency control units split across the two carts. Space at the bottom on one side accommodates an MDM-832 distribution module and Galileo 616 loudspeaker processing system while the opposite cart holds the colour-coded audio cables and AC mains cable during storage.
“We can have the LEOPARD rig rolled out and ready in under 15 minutes, and all the audio ready inside an hour,” says Gille. “Including stage and seating, the total prep time is about three hours.”
Gille specified some added acoustic treatments to complement the system coverage pattern. A line of 2-inch absorptive panels was placed on the back wall to dampen slap-back, and the two thick panels that protect the 20′ wide Roe LED screen, when pulled aside for Sunday worship, function as effective traps for low-mid energy.
“Overall I’m very impressed with what I’m hearing,” concludes Gille. “It’s a fun feeling to have all that power and still hear detail in a gymnasium environment. Detail, in a gym? How can you do that?! I chalk it up to putting really good gear with precise pattern control and a linear response, and that’s what we get with this LEOPARD rig. Beyond that, you can’t go wrong investing in Meyer, as flexible components like these can be redeployed in new solutions as needs change.”
Front end gear contributing to the audio quality includes a Yamaha CL-5 digital mixer, DPA headset microphones, Shure wireless systems, and a complement of wired microphones from Audix and Shure.
Eastside Christian’s new main campus, opened in late 2012, is housed inside a completely reconstructed former Boeing Defense Systems plant. It features one of the newest worship auditoriums to offer variable acoustic characteristics using Meyer Sound’s Constellation acoustic system.