Feature: Delivering the WOW in HOW
Feature: Delivering the WOW in HOW
Richard Lawn pays a visit to Amazing Grace Presbyterian Church, a house of worship where WOW! Media Resources recently performed an AVL upgrade
What’s in a name? Established Singaporean systems integrator WOW! Media Resources is not particularly synonymous in delivering a ‘WOW’ factor on behalf of its clients. However, it merits repeat business on account of its efficient, thorough and well-executed works, transforming worship experiences and practices without the additional fanfare. Recalled to site following a successful audio installation in 2009, WOW! Media Resources director Christopher Chang and his company returned to Amazing Grace Presbyterian Church to upgrade the audio, video and lighting systems.
Having started as Holy Grace Presbyterian Church in 1978, 20 dedicated followers met each week to host an English service on the Upper Changi Road East in Singapore. Renamed, the current church opened in May 2003 for which the five-level property hosts two sanctuaries, a multipurpose hall and over 20 rooms for its staff and kindergarten operations.
Presbyterian church services may be synonymous with sermons and prayers with a light musical accompaniment, but the Sunday services at Amazing Grace rely on musical accompaniment with a band consisting of a shielded percussionist, two keyboard players, electric and acoustic guitarists and a bass guitarist. The ageing EVI speaker system installed into the 800-capacity, third-floor sanctuary some 10 years ago was earmarked for an upgrade. The 23m x 25m room appears to be ideal for EASE simulations, but the room’s varied 8–10m ceiling height had posed a problem since services began in 2003. In addition, the wireless microphone system had also been plagued with feedback issues.
WOW! Media Resources was commissioned to design and build a new audio system that would provide high power performance, intelligibility and even dispersion characteristics. Based on a scored assessment, five suppliers were invited to demonstrate their systems at the church and graded according to price performance characteristics.
‘Following a demonstration of our EV EVA loudspeaker units, the church was impressed by the even coverage and dispersion characteristics it provided in the space,’ explained Bosch Communications’ sales and marketing communications manager, Gordon Lee. ‘The EVA with the subwoofers provided full coverage and the powerful performance cited by the church committee.’
Having been given a green light to proceed in mid-November 2018, the WOW! Media Resources team managed to complete the works two weeks prior to the 23 December Christmas service deadline. New Cat-6, DMX lighting, HDMI and audio cabling was laid from the open control room to the rear right of the sanctuary to the control room amplifier rack and the various speaker, video display and lighting outputs.
At the heart of the digital audio upgrade, an Allen & Heath GLD-112 control surface is connected to a primary AR2412 24-in/12-out audio rack. This is daisy-chained to two AR84 eight-in/four-out expansion racks over Cat-5 using the manufacturer’s dSNAKE protocol. Accommodating up to 48 input processing channels, the analogue-style channel processing control section of the GLD-112 represents a gentle introduction to the digital world for the church’s volunteers. From the 8.4-inch touchscreen, operators can oversee parameters from the drag-and-drop layout for an easy assessment of the inputs and mixes to the fader strips.
Fixed to the ceiling on brackets, the main FOH loudspeaker system comprises L–R arrays of three EVA-2082S modules each. Weighing 36.8kg, each two-way cabinet combines dual 8-inch woofers with four 1.25-inch compression drivers to provide a 90°x 20°coverage pattern. Capable of producing a maximum SPL of 135dB SPL (1w/1m) and operating within a frequency response of 60Hz to 19kHz (±3dB), Gordon Lee’s EVADA (EVA Design Assistant) software tool simulations confirmed that low-frequency extension would be required. This has been provided by L–R EVA-1151D single 15-inch subwoofers.
Two of the EVC-1122/VI audio monitors are installed above the stage adjacent to the EVA-2082S and EVA-1151D hangs. Orientated towards the stage from a height of 8m, the 10-inch cabinets are powered by a single Dynacord L Series L1800FD DSP power amplifier. The German amplification brand also powers the main speaker system, for which two L2800FD amplifiers supply two 650W each at 8Ω to the EVA-2082S arrays and a single L3600FD model powers two 900W at 8Ω to the two subwoofers
Seven channels of Audio-Technica’s new 3000 Series constitutes the main part of the audio input upgrade. The wireless configuration combines cardioid clip-ons, BP894 head-worn mics and an ATM710 condenser capsule in a new interchangeable format. Two UHF antenna distributors amplify the wireless signal from the transmitters to the receivers via a wide band directional LPDA antenna. Under the latest Singaporean UHF wireless spectrum guidelines, the 3000 Series offers a wider 60MHz bandwidth, providing greater flexibility within the congested RF environment. While the pulpit is still served by two pre-existing EV CPSM goosenecks, the grand piano is now miked with a pair of Audio-Technica ATM350PL cardioid condensers.
Visually, church services currently use three inputs and three outputs, so the addition of a WyreStorm MX-0808-HDBT-H2L matrix switcher will be ample for the next decade with its eight I/Os. Incorporating HDBaseT Class-B technology, the MX-0808-HDBT-H2L transmits 2K and 4K UHD video in addition to HDR, HDCP2.2 and multichannel audio.
Two laptop VGA sources and a Panasonic AW-HE40 HD PTZ camera managed from an AW-RP50E controller constitute the three inputs at present. Mounted below the low rear ceiling, two Epson 7000-lumen WUXGA EB-G7905 projectors output hymn lyrics to the motorised Remaco 4m x 3m (WxH) screens to the left and right of the stage. In addition, a rear-mounted screen serves as a confidence monitor for the pastor. HD quality has been assured with the addition of two WyreStorm EX-70-G2 HDBaseT extenders and an RX-70-POH receiver between the inputs and the matrix switcher. ‘Future expansion is inevitable with the likely addition of LED screens on various levels of the church,’ comments Chang.
A new 5m-long lighting bar was also integrated onto the ceiling during WOW! Media Resources’ two-week residency. Controlled from a laptop incorporating SL512BC software, the new basic lighting fixtures include six LED floodlights, two LED Fresnels and two LED profiles.
Having delivered the upgrade on time and within budget, church elder AF Yong is particularly impressed with the even audio coverage throughout the sanctuary – including the stage area. ‘The choir and musicians can now monitor themselves clearly and, likewise, the congregants also comprehend the spoken word clearly. The operators are enjoying the benefits of the digital upgrade and we can start to plan ahead for future expansions with this new infrastructure.’
It speaks volumes that a Presbyterian church is clearly investing so much in its audio, lighting and video systems. Digitally enhanced with ample inputs and outputs, there will be a WOW factor for some time to come.