Southard Audio recently overcame the challenges of lockdown when it deployed its new Martin Audio WPS system for the first time, helping the congregants of Harrisonburg’s Divine Unity Church to move outdoors for a special, socially distanced service.
When the Virginia-based HOW decided to make the most of its outdoor space, it turned to Southard Audio and managing partner, Jason Misterka. “This was literally a church service in a parking lot and we were happy to have the gig,” Misterka recalled. “It was organised very quickly and there was no infrastructure in the parking lot, there was no stage and to make things harder it was on a hill.”
Adding further complications were the unique challenges of providing live sound in the time of a pandemic. “Due to Covid-19, we didn’t feel comfortable having a front of house position in the audience,” explained Misterka. The audience was made up of three areas: first there were seats that were socially distanced, then behind them were cars where people could get out but remain in their spot, then finally there was a large screen for people who remained in their cars and listened to a broadcast.
Instead of a traditional FOH, the team set up an OB-style mix position in one of the company’s trucks. “We drove the mix from that location using a reference mic, studio monitors, IEMs and headphones,” continued Misterka. “We also monitored the mix from a car over the FM broadcast and regularly checked the audience area to make sure that we were on target. We spent a significant amount of time listening and ensuring that we had the correct coverage prior to the audience’s arrival, but the point is that with WPS we were able to achieve very consistent coverage in a way that would not have been possible with a lot of other speakers in extremely difficult circumstances.”
The main system for the event comprised eight WPS per side with a single SXH218 subwoofer per side for low end. In addition, two CDD-LIVE12 were used as front-fills and two CDD-LIVE15 for out-fills. A rack of three iK42 amplifiers powered the system.