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Feature: Simulate to stimulate

Feature: Simulate to stimulate

Feature: Simulate to stimulate

GMS sought to add punch and volume to musical performances at its new facility in Pakuwon Mall, reports Richard Lawn

Marketing slogans sometimes take on new meanings over time. “Not just shopping, it’s a lifestyle”, for example, was adopted by Pakuwon Mall in Surabaya long before Gereja Mawar Sharon (GMS) Church relocated its services there. Capable of accommodating 3,332 seated congregants for each Sunday service in the Pearl Exhibition Hall, the retailers within the development clearly benefit with the added footfall both prior to and following each charismatic service. Transforming this immense third-level space into a performance venue and transmitting the word of God was made possible by Berkat Mitra Swara who were commissioned to install a powerful loudspeaker system.

The entire speaker system is powered by a single rack of L-Acoustics LA12X amplified controllers
The entire speaker system is powered by a single rack of L-Acoustics LA12X amplified controllers

Measuring 56m x 46m (WxL), the new pillarless worship space required an audio system that could not only deliver smooth, natural sounding spoken word but also add punch and volume during the musical performances. Having initially been requested to submit a company profile to the church in 2019, director Thomsen Phan and the PT Berkat Mitra Swara team received an invitation to demonstrate an L-Acoustics loudspeaker. Associated with the distribution of many credible sound reinforcement manufacturers in Indonesia over the past two decades, Phan acknowledges that he has learnt many new aspects since taking on stewardship for the French brand in 2018.

“We have learnt to differentiate ourselves from the other suppliers when conducting speaker evaluations,” explains Phan. “The demo protocol approach that we have adopted from L-Acoustics, right down to the track that has to be played during music playback, is a lot more professional.” Promoting a KARAi setup for their evaluation ahead of the more compact KIVA II module, project manager Hendra Halim was initially sceptical with regards to their chances of winning the tender. However, his fears were proven to be unfounded and the demo made the sale.

The KARAi system provides less than 2dB loss from the stage to the rear of the room
The KARAi system provides less than 2dB loss from the stage to the rear of the room

Having opted on the virtues of KARAi as the main loudspeaker system, Halim was then tasked to design a system for the room using Soundvision 3D acoustical and mechanical simulation software. Capable of operating in real time, Halim calculated SPL coverage, SPL mapping and delay coverage once the exact room dimension and details had been inputted for the venue with a varied 16–19m ceiling height. The modelling was finally checked and verified by the French headquarters. “Upon completion, the Soundvision simulations had proved to be 95% correct,” furthers Halim, when expressing the virtues of the software. “We really only had to tweak the speakers slightly during commissioning to achieve the desired outputs.”

Led by Halim, the three-week project in Surabaya was completed prior to the onset of the current pandemic. The sanctuary features an L-R configuration comprising nine KARAi cabinets flown in each array adjacent to separate hangs of four SB18i 18-inch subwoofers for low-frequency extension. A further six KS28 dual 18-inch bass-reflex enclosures capable of reproducing bass extension down to 25Hz (–10dB) are ground stacked below the 18m-wide stage. Even coverage has been maintained for seats located adjacent to the stage by adding L-R out fills by adding L-R arrays hanging dual ARCS Focus and single ARCS Wide speakers from a Wi-Fo bump bar.

Separate L-R hangs comprise nine KARAi cabinets and four SB18i subwoofers
Separate L-R hangs comprise nine KARAi cabinets and four SB18i subwoofers

The entire system is driven by nine rack-mounted LA12X amplified controllers with an additional LA4X dedicated to powering the eight coaxial 8XT enclosures spread across the stage lip for front fill. Loudspeaker cabling is routed overhead from the trussed arrays to the amplifier rack located backstage to the rear of the large LED display. An adjacent rack connects the Neutron engine and three DL231 24-in/24-out active microphone splitters to the Midas Pro X control surface at FOH. A Pro X HyperMAC router provides a dual redundant snake connection over optical fibre and copper with a bandwidth of 192 bidirectional channels with Cat-5/5e cabling between FOH and BOH. AES50 digital audio networking allows the Pro X to assign up to 288 inputs and 294 outputs to any of its input channels and bus outputs.

Onstage, side fill and wedge monitoring duties for the church leaders are fulfilled by L-Acoustics coaxial 112P speakers. The musicians receive their individual mixes on Midas DP48 personal monitors emitting from the Midas Pro X console via the Neutron engine. Pre-existing Shure ULX4 wireless receivers and Beta58s and Beta87s have been retained. Specified as the broadcast feed, a third Midas control surface has been added in the form of a Pro2. “This has proved invaluable for streaming services over the internet during the pandemic,” furthers Halim.

A Midas Neutron engine and three DL231 active mic splitters connect to the FOH Pro X control surface
A Midas Neutron engine and three DL231 active mic splitters connect to the FOH Pro X control surface

“The church committee specified KARAi on account that they will probably relocate to a bigger venue in several years’ time where they will use the current rig as the basis. The modular, flexible design features make it a good basis for upgrading in future. Measuring less than 2dB loss from the stage to the rear of the room, KARAi has proved itself be the right choice. Not only is it very smooth and natural sounding for spoken word, there is an unmistakable punch and power during musical performances.”

This feature appears in the January - February issue of Worship AVL. Subscribe at www.proavl-central.com/subscribe/worship



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