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L-Acoustics helps Phoenix church celebrate Christmas

L-Acoustics helps Phoenix church celebrate Christmas
View of the Peoria site’s setup

L-Acoustics helps Phoenix church celebrate Christmas

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When it came to its annual Christmas event for 2020, Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) in Phoenix, Arizona, wasn’t going to let Covid-19 halt its plans. Instead, it produced Christmas Under the Stars outdoors at all of its 10 campuses over six nights during the holiday. Enjoyed by an estimated 50,000 people, each campus celebrated fantastic sound thanks to the deployment of 210 L-Acoustics loudspeaker enclosures and components provided by the Phoenix office of Clearwing Productions.

Pre-show soundcheck at the Verrado site using A15s and KS21s
Pre-show soundcheck at the Verrado site using A15s and KS21s

“It was pretty incredible,” recalled Clearwing audio engineer/designer Joe Spitzer, who is also a certified and accomplished L-Acoustics K System Engineer (KSE). “We approached this as we would a music festival with 10 separate stages. L-Acoustics had the perfect mix of speakers and technologies to let us design and build PA systems that were exactly matched to each location’s acoustical and coverage needs, as well as make sure we had consistent sound quality across all 10 sites. Plus, it was consistent with the sound the church is used to hearing because they have L-Acoustics Kara or Kiva II systems in more than half of their campuses. So the system performance was very familiar to their own engineers.”

Rehearsing on the Kara and SB28 rig at North Phoenix
Rehearsing on the Kara and SB28 rig at North Phoenix

The main Peoria campus had the largest single system, consisting of a flown PA using seven Kara boxes per side for the main arrays and six more per hang for the side arrays. Six SB28 subs provided low end, and the whole system was powered by four LA-RAK II amplified controllers, each containing three LA12X amplifiers.

The other nine campuses had combinations of six Kara or eight Kiva II speakers per side, most stacked atop a pair of either SB28 or KS28 subs, while two locations had six Kara hangs flown per side. One location, an auditorium with a wide, fan-shaped seating area, used two A15 Wide and two A15 Focus enclosures per side. In all, Clearwing’s technicians deployed 74 Karas, 48 Kiva IIs, 10 X8s, six X15 HiQs, six ARCS IIs, four A15 Focus, four A15 Wides, eight 12XTs and two Syvas, paired with a total of 28 SB28s, 16 KS28s and four KS21 subs, plus 25 amplified controller racks.

CCV’s Scottsdale location used a ground-stacked setup of ARCS II enclosures atop SB28 subs
CCV’s Scottsdale location used a ground-stacked setup of ARCS II enclosures atop SB28 subs

One particular application of the LA Network Manager control and monitoring software that was heavily used for Christmas Under the Stars was the Autoclimate feature, which allows for the simultaneous adjustment of air-compensation filters based on measured temperature and humidity conditions. “The band would do its soundcheck during the day but, by the time the show was to go on, the temperature had dropped, and there was more moisture in the air,” he said. “The change in humidity, in particular, accentuates high frequencies and Autoclimate allowed us to automatically compensate for changing air conditions, dialing high frequencies back as needed.”

Soundcheck for Christmas Under the Stars at CCV’s Peoria campus where Clearwing flew four L-Acoustics Kara arrays over KS28 subs
Soundcheck for Christmas Under the Stars at CCV’s Peoria campus where Clearwing flew four L-Acoustics Kara arrays over KS28 subs

The church agreed. Production director Blair Drake was impressed by how consistent the sound quality was between the various outdoor performance locations and how closely it matched what the audience members hear inside the churches. “The Soundvision modelling was extremely accurate – what the software predicted was very true to the end result,” he added. “It’s one of the many reasons we’ve been using L-Acoustics for so long.”

All of CCV’s new locations in the last six years have had Kara and Kiva II PA systems installed, and the pending new locations for 2021, in the Phoenix suburbs of Laveen and Queen Creek, will have L-Acoustics A Series sound systems. “Clearwing did a fantastic job on this project, making it work under very challenging conditions,” concluded Drame. “But L-Acoustics gave us the right tools to make it all happen.”



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