Horsham Church of Christ has made a significant leap of faith into its brand new church. Horsham, in Western Victoria, isn’t a large town but an important rural centre, and the church has an active and loyal membership that faithfully saw out this significant project over many years.
The church leadership began talking to Mozaix some eight years ago. At that crucial stage Mozaix director, Paul Tucker, had one clear imperative to impart: make sure the AV integrator and acoustic consultant are at the table during those planning meetings.
Mozaix didn’t necessarily set out to be Melbourne’s go-to house of worship AV specialist — but word spread that Paul Tucker and his team genuinely understood the, sometime, unusual and competing demands of modern church installations.
Paul Tucker: “It’s hugely important to be involved early and to have a good relationship with the architect. Once you’re on the architectural plans you can design a ‘best-case scenario’ AV system rather than being constantly compromised.”
Having a seat at the planning table ensured the building design worked with the acoustic treatment and the essential AV infrastructure, such as the lighting bars and PA rigging.
The right performance level can only be decided on through proper consultation. Again, here’s where Mozaix has a proven track record of understanding the market and understanding that churches often struggle to frame their requirements without being walked through the options.
Paul Tucker: “Churches struggle to explain themselves well. Invariably they’ll point to [megachurch] Hillsong as their reference point. Of course, very few churches have a Hillsong budget and, if you ask the right questions, you’ll discover that that level of production isn’t appropriate and doesn’t dovetail with the needs of the community they’re reaching. Which is why we spend the time digging deeper and asking the right questions.”
EAW RADIUS ‘COMPELLING’
The main auditorium sits 350 people on the floor with a mezzanine level for an extra 200. The PA design required a lot of vertical coverage. Paul and his team worked on point source loudspeaker designs but struggled to bring something to the table that wouldn’t require a delay system for the balcony.
Paul Tucker: “For churches, like other performance venues, it’s all about even coverage. We aim to have less than a 3dB variance to every seat.”
After extensive consultation with a number of vendors, EAW and its Australian distributor PAVT pitched a system design based on its new Radius line array that was compellingly priced and, according to the modelling, would be ideal for the unusual dimensions of the room.
Paul Tucker: “True line array is great in the right context, especially when you’re blessed with proper acoustic treatment. You can cover the entire room from two sources, and tailor the dispersion to the room and reduce reflections. That’s a major win, especially when you’re trying to direct audio up high into the balcony as well as right down to the front row.”
With six elements of Radius aside and two flown 18-inch subs aside, most people’s first impression is: ‘that’s a lot of PA’.
Paul Tucker: “With six elements aside, 90 percent of that is about even coverage. The Radius PA may be more than the church will ever need for most Sundays but, in that, there’s enough headroom to accommodate touring acts and special events.
“Initially the PA design had only two sub cabs mounted under the stage. But due to the multi-level stage lip, the church decided they wanted the subs flown, which meant we had to double the complement to get the same output. It’s a lot of low-end firepower to have up your sleeve; there’s more than enough headroom to take care of any concert or event the church is likely to host.”
Radius is an unusual beast. It’s not a constant curvature array. With its two eight-inch drivers and two HF units, it’s a true line array with adjustable inter-cabinet splay angles, but is priced well enough to take some market share from the constant curvature systems so popular in houses of worship.
Paul Tucker: “It’s by no means EAW’s flagship PA but in that room, working hand in glove with the right acoustic treatment, Horsham Church of Christ has got themselves an outstanding result.”
Radius is an active PA that natively accepts Dante digital audio and can be configured via a Radius iOS app.
Paul Tucker: “You can manage Radius over ethernet. All the DSP is on board, within the loudspeakers. It’s really quite an impressive PA, the way it can be controlled and the way it configures itself via the DSP. It’s the first time Mozaix has used it and we will definitely be looking to find other rooms to put it in.”
Some six EAW VFR69i six-inch passive loudspeakers provide infill from the lip of the stage and help to bring the sonic image down.
Paul Tucker: “Yes, it is about bringing that sonic image down for the first three or four rows. It’s also about ensuring the most important seat in the house gets the best possible sound. Front and centre is normally where the senior pastor sits and in many installs that’s the least appealing seat, sound-wise.”
The new church with its full-spec kitchen and huge foyer (not to mention the best AV spec for miles) is quite a desirable addition to Horsham’s venue options. For the church, that was always the plan — the new facilities were always about connecting with the broader community.
Already the calendar is starting to fill up. Schools are booking the auditorium for presentation nights. Funeral directors are calling the church to accommodate larger funerals. As you might expect, Horsham Church of Christ doesn’t have a liquor license and nor would it be courting secular rock gigs and the like. But the new facilities, and the state-of-the-art audiovisual systems that go with it, has broadened the church’s reach, influence and income streams.
A step of faith? Sure. An inspirational one? Absolutely.
Mozaix: (03) 9558 0433 or www.mozaix.com.au
PAVT (EAW): (03) 9264 8000 or www.pavt.com.au