When The Grove Community Church of Riverside, California built its current Worship Center more than a dozen years ago, Olympia, Washington-based CCI Solutions facilitated the design and installation of the sound system for its 1,800-seat main auditorium. Since that time, like many churches, The Grove’s music sets have gradually moved toward a more Contemporary praise style requiring a robust sound system to best capture both the band’s impact and vocalists’ intelligibility. So when CCI Solutions recently got the call to once again assess the room’s sonic needs, the integrator recommended a new system built on L-Acoustics’ Kara(i) and Kiva II platforms.
“The Grove definitely takes a more Contemporary approach to music, but the only thing that’s safe to expect is the unexpected,” notes CCI Solutions Vice President of Sales and Integration Duke DeJong. “Their team is highly creative and dynamic, so they mix it up pretty regularly going from a traditional worship set with a 25-piece choir and full orchestra one week to a high-energy, modern worship music set the next. They really needed a system that could handle it all and we knew that L-Acoustics would certainly deliver.”
Using L-Acoustics’ Soundvision 3D real-time acoustical modeling software, CCI Solutions Project Lead Mark Pearson explored numerous designs and ultimately specified a system featuring left and right main arrays each comprised of 11 Kara(i) enclosures with eight SB18i subs flown in a central horizontal array between them. Twin arrays of six smaller Kiva II enclosures are hung outside of the Kara to address the wide room’s far left and right seating areas, while KS28 subs are ground-stacked two per side under each end of the stage thrust. Several coaxial X8 and X12 enclosures are utilized for various fill applications, and eight amplified controllers power the entire system: six LA8 for the Kara/Kiva II and SB18i, an LA4X for the coaxial fills, and an LA12X for the KS28.
“Thanks to the right products and people, this project was a huge success and I would rank it in my top three system designs of my 20-year history at CCI Solutions,” Pearson says. “The Grove has a very unique creative team that pulls all the stops out; it has been such a blessing to work with them for more than a decade. They not only appreciate the use of the right technology but have a huge amount of trust in CCI Solutions as a partner in creating an environment to support their vision and equip them with the tools to minister to their community. They value their investment knowing that the transparency and fullness that comes from L-Acoustics is nothing but the best. This system is a thrill to hear.”
Pearson points out that the geometry of the room combined with the necessary SPL really drove the need for a line array solution in this case: “We looked at everything from ARCS WiFo to Kiva for the main hangs, but the driver configuration and output of Kara helped it make the most sense as the primary array choice for The Grove.”
The deployment of two models of subwoofers—flown SB18i and grounded KS28—allows the new PA to adapt for a variety of performance types. “The flown SB18 are being run with the full range of the system as an LF extension to the Kara/Kiva II, and then the KS28 are switchable between being run with the system and run from an aux off the console,” he describes. “The method in which we designed the sub system is to create a more efficient use of the subs to complement The Grove’s contemporary worship style. It basically comes down to flexibility. The church doesn’t necessarily always need a lot of punch for weekends, but they want the ability to have it whenever they want.”
Shortly after the new system went in, The Grove received a prestigious WFX Solomon Award for its sound system retrofit project, much to the delight of Dan Williams who has served as the church’s technical director for the past seven years.
“I was familiar with L-Acoustics and had used some of their systems in the past, so when CCI suggested that we consider the brand for our upgrade, I was very interested,” Williams enthuses. “After listening to a nearly identical Kara/Kiva II system, I was confident that it was the right choice for The Grove. I’m so impressed with the system’s high fidelity, full-range output that is smoothly and evenly delivered to every seat in our Worship Center. This system is so efficient in accurately reproducing input sources to our audience, and that same sonic characteristic is everywhere throughout the entire space.”
Williams points out that he’s hardly the only one to notice the improvement. “With the new system in place, the pastoral team, board members and staff are all pleased and excited to experience the various services and events held in our Worship Center,” he says, adding that the best compliments have come from parishioners. “I have received many audience compliments about the new system, including one very surprising comment from an older couple thanking us for installing a system of such quality and clarity that they can now distinctly hear every word that is spoken and sung. That is a big deal!”
DeJong and Pearson are both quick to share credit with others for the project’s success. Among those are Todd Mayo and David Bradley from the CCI Solutions Systems Installation team, who coordinated the removal of the previous rig and installation of the new one in only five days, as well as L-Acoustics’ André Pichette, who validated the system design and performed its final calibration.