WASHINGTON, DC – May 2017 — Serving the greater Washington DC area since 1971, RCI Systems is a full-service event production house and systems integrator that has built its success on two “greats”—great people and great gear. In the house of worship community, that has often taken the form of partnering with Jonathan Lesane and SYXA Services, most recently on a pair of installs featuring L-Acoustics ARCS WiFo (Wide and Focus) systems at Spirit of Faith Christian Center and Mount Pleasant Church and Ministries.
Lesane works with a large number of churches in the DC and Baltimore areas, but he’s not a “typical” systems integrator. His approach of providing rental systems, as well as arranging permanent installs and personnel to run both, is a reaction to the issues many churches face with volunteer audio staffs.
“I have had many discussions with worship leaders where I point out that they are willing to pay good money for, say, a keyboard player with a touring pedigree for the worship band, but they expect the overall sound of the service to be capably piloted by a volunteer with limited experience and knowledge,” he says.
With that in mind, Lesane notes that it’s crucial for growing churches—especially those moving from traditional services into more contemporary styles—to wisely invest in sound systems that will be tailor-fit for their worship spaces and sound superb even in the hands of laymen operators. “Both the Spirit of Faith and Mount Pleasant locations involved extremely reflective environments where maintaining coherent sound was previously difficult at the volumes these services run at,” he says. “But the highly precise directivity of WiFo has allowed them to nicely remedy that and achieve beautiful sound.”
Using L-Acoustics’ Soundvision 3D acoustical modeling software, RCI and SYXA jointly determined the ideal audio solutions for Mount Pleasant and Spirit of Faith to be very similar—both systems now feature a total of four ARCS Wide and four ARCS Focus boxes paired with a quartet of SB18 subs. Mount Pleasant’s system, which comprises two vertical arrays, is powered by a pair of LA8 amplified controllers, while Spirit of Faith’s four-zone system—plus additional L-Acoustics sidefills and monitors—is LA4X-driven.
This may seem to be a bit heavier on subs than some church installs, but Lesane notes that it’s about reproducing the music, which is heavy on R&B influences and even some hip-hop. “I’m a firm believer,” he says, “in the idea that a sound system can’t make what’s happening on the stage sound any better than it does at the source. What L-Acoustics’ WiFo does is allow for a sonic transparency that means we can really get the sound of the band out to every person in every seat of the sanctuary without compromise.”
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RCI Systems’ Bob Capotosto notes that churches also appreciate the cost-effectiveness of L-Acoustics’ ARCS WiFo. “There are just no seams or breaks in the coverage between boxes in the array, either vertically or horizontally, which means that we can very effectively cover the same space with fewer boxes than some other systems,” he says.
“There seems to be a perception that if a system has an L-Acoustics label on it, then it’s going be more expensive than other options, and that is simply not the case with the WiFo. And because of the consistent sonic signature across the entire L-Acoustics lineup, everything scales. Between WiFo and Kiva II, both small- and mid-sized churches can have outstanding sonic performance with a markedly similar sound and stay within budget. They’re both very cost-effective options that can cover a lot of sonic ground.”