Recently Completed Projects
CROSSPOINT COMMUNITY CHURCH - Modesto, CA
A complete overhaul was long overdue. And the church knew it. Modesto, California's, CrossPoint Community Church had been using the same sound system for 25 years. Because the congregation has a history of doing things with excellence, as soon as they were financially able, they made the commitment to replace their auditorium's aging system with one that would ensure even coverage for every seat in the house. They called on Clark to help them make that happen.
Technical Director, Josh Belokonny, says, "The coverage was terrible throughout the room. The system couldn't handle the dynamic range of modern music because of its age." Add to that the architecture of the space. The room was originally a gymnasium. A balcony was added later (increasing the seating capacity to 1200), extending out into the space, covering 1/2 to 3/4 of the congregation. Imagine a horseshoe shape, with the audience wrapping around the stage. Then add a balcony. George Clark (Principal and Co-Founder of Clark) says, "It is probably one of the most unique rooms that I've ever seen." This only added to the audio problems in the space. Josh says, "It sounded like you were in three different environments. A congregation member sitting under the balcony would have a completely different audio experience than someone on the main floor. We wanted to try to establish more consistency."
One of the major hurdles in designing the system was the room's low ceiling height. Large wooden beams and HVAC ducts created a huge sight line challenge. Both George and Ed Crippen, Clark Senior Commissioning Engineer, agreed that CrossPoint's auditorium had one of the lowest ceilings that the firm had dealt with for the type of room. "We had to decide where to put speakers, so that they pointed and hit the seating areas, without being in the way of video projection," says Ed.
CrossPoint was committed to making sure every person in the auditorium had the best listening and viewing experience possible. They spent a year and a half raising money and prioritizing other church expenses in order to cover the costs. During that time, Josh and his team shared with Clark engineers - through photographs and conversation - giving them a realistic view of the room and its use. Josh says, "It helped us get everyone on the same page. Clark was really flexible, especially in the engineering process, making sure that we did it the right way, even though it meant extra trips to our building. I was really impressed."
While line arrays are considered eye candy to those in the audio world, Clark, along with Josh and his team, determined early on they weren't the right application for CrossPoint's room. From a visual standpoint, they would have created huge shadows and blocked viewing. Instead, Clark's engineers came up with the smallest footprint for a speaker design that would hit the targeted areas, without being in the way. The Tech Director says, "We established a really well-distributed audio system with a LOT of speakers." There are 38 point source speakers in the room. George says, "Since the biggest thing was to keep sight lines for the screens correct for the people in the balcony, we opted to put in multiple points for audio." It also provides optimal sound coverage for every seat.
"We kept things very near field and intimate to the people so they could have a great experience, without exciting the room too much," says George. The firm used all point source Meyer Sound Laboratories' speakers. "They provide great linearity, both in the amplitude and in phase. It allowed us to stitch the different zones of the system together seamlessly," he adds.
It was not a simple task to introduce that many speakers into a room. Ed explains: "We had to put speakers everywhere. I've never put so many speakers in such a small space, ever. Any time you have one speaker and introduce another one, very careful attention must be given to the speaker placement to optimize the interaction the speakers provide, in terms of phase and summation. So when you do that with 38 speakers, all at once, at different positions in the room, it's a massive challenge. A lot of work went into proper placement of those speakers." After allowing a week for rigging, Ed spent about a week fine-tuning the system before he completed the final commissioning.
Josh is not a newbie when it comes to audio systems. He's spent some time installing himself, but he felt this particular job was out of his range of expertise because of its complexity. He says, "I really wanted someone I could trust and knew Clark had the experience." He first became aware of Clark, and liked what he heard, when he visited North Point and Buckhead Church in Atlanta, Georgia. "Some of the best rooms I've ever heard are Buckhead and North Point," says Josh. "I could have called a speaker dealer and gotten a system put in, but engaging with Clark gave me peace of mind," he adds. Initially, Josh thought the CrossPoint job might be too small for Clark. He made the call anyway. "Houston (Clark, Principal and Co-Founder) flew out and spent a weekend with us. A couple of guys from our tech team were here and they were really blown away. I just felt, from the beginning, that Clark was super generous and giving of their time and resources to a project that wouldn't necessarily benefit them in massive ways financially - because we're not a huge church,"
For Josh, the greatest value Clark provided in the project was that "...they weren't willing to cut corners, even when they had to change plans. I felt like they were going to get it right and wouldn't be happy until they did." The personal touch of the company was also a plus in Josh's mind. "They spent time with us praying over the project. Things like that really helped build unity and peace of mind in the partnership," he says.
But how about the sound? The Tech Director says, "I never thought our room would get to this level of audio clarity. The intelligibility and warmth that the system provides is a breath of fresh air. We can now experience the services in a whole new way, thanks to Clark's precision engineering. Now, obtaining a great mix, a dreaded weekly challenge in prior years, has become something to look forward to each time we use the system."