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From the first seat to the last

From the first seat to the last

From the first seat to the last

Fuente de Vida goes 360° with an L-Acoustics A Series setup

Established by Dr Herón Mendoza and Pastor Lorely Medellín in 1988, Fuente de Vida, located in Tampico in Mexico and translating to fountain of life, has surged over the past 35 years to become one of Tamaulipas state’s most well-known evangelical churches. In 2011, its congregation moved into a newly constructed worship space, built on the former site of the coastal city’s Gaona bullring. Some 12 years later, domed arena, which suffered from a lack of proper sound coverage and poor intelligibility, has been outfitted with an L-Acoustics A Series system, designed by Juárez-based IM Systems, working in tandem with L-Acoustics Certified Provider, Vari International.

“Fuente de Vida’s worship hall can seat 8,000 people, but their original sound system did not have the capacity to cover the entire seating area and it really wasn’t optimal for the shape and size of the venue, which is set up in the round,” explains IM Systems’ director, Cesar Muñoz. “In addition to doing sound design, I’m also a touring audio engineer and work at my local church in Ciudad Juarez, Comunidad Olivo, where we installed a K2 system with Vari International back in 2016. I’ve been in love with their speakers ever since, and I knew that an L-Acoustics solution would be a good fit for this project as well.”

Working closely with Vari’s system engineering team, Muñoz used Soundvision simulations in conjunction with acoustic measurements of the venue to come up with a five-array design that would deliver even distribution of sound pressure throughout the entire main floor, including the under-balcony sections. Three front and two rear-firing L-C-R hangs are each made up of two A10i Focus flown over two A10i down, with all five clusters hanging from the circular truss ring over the stage. Up in the balcony, 11 additional A10i Wide speakers were mounted to the existing catwalk infrastructure to supply blanketed coverage of the entire upper seating area. A total of seven LA4X amplified controllers power and process all of the A Series enclosures.

Needing to preserve 360° sightlines of the church’s circular stage, the project’s subwoofer deployment presented an interesting challenge. “There was no way to install subs underneath or to the sides of the stage as we would in a normal front-facing venue,” Muñoz adds. “We had to use a KS21i stack in the middle of what they call ‘el aro’ – or ‘the ring’ – which is a massive structure suspended by wires in the middle of the venue that provides support for lighting, LED screens and audio systems. We tried several iterations using different configurations of KS21i and KS28 subwoofers but, thanks to the excellent acoustic predictions provided by Soundvision, we were able to choose the perfect solution for the venue, which was a central hang of four KS21i driven by a single LA12X. Low end is definitely no longer an issue.”

Following Vari’s installation, which took less than a week, Muñoz critically listened to the results with Mendoza. “We walked around the whole auditorium just listening and staring at the speakers for over two hours, taking in what we had just achieved, and he was very impressed by the clarity and smooth distribution throughout the entire venue,” he said. “The following day was the first Sunday service since the upgrade and the congregation was also able to tell the difference in quality right away. People were sitting in zones around the venue they’ve almost never sat in – including the balcony, which has been empty for years –due to audio cancellation issues or lack of speakers covering those seats until now. From the first seat to the very last, the church is now able to deliver a quality experience for its congregation.”

Being able to compare Fuente de Vida’s A10i system with his own church’s larger K2 rig, Muñoz reports that he’s duly impressed with the performance of the compact A Series enclosures. “The sound pressure and consistency of these small A10i systems is incredible. I’ve been a touring audio engineer for over 13 years and have had the privilege of listening to many different PA systems in my career, but L-Acoustics keeps impressing me every time. The A Series is definitely a solid option for churches, especially if there’s any kind of space limitations. These small boxes sound so big. Regardless of whether I’m on a tour or an install project, if I see that gold and black logo, I know it’s going to be an awesome-sounding day.”

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