Urbana IL – When Spangler Media was again called upon to repair the aging sound system in the Vineyard Church auditorium that had been further damaged by a major lightning event, Bob Spangler took advantage of the situation to bring in a Martin Audio MLA Compact system for a live demo as proof of concept.
All of which obviously turned out fine as Bob reports: “Once the church was able to hear the MLA system in their own room, they were sold on it the minute it was turned on.”
The fan-shaped auditorium seats 1,055 and measures approximately 180 ft. at its widest point narrowing to a 100 ft. closer to the stage and has a 70-ft. throw with the room in its current configuration.
As Bob explains, “it’s a very contemporary styled space with sheetrock and other highly reflective materials on the ceiling which caused major problems with the old speaker package. That was a big reason why we went with the MLA solution, so we could use the Hard Avoid feature in the software to eliminate those reflections. In practice, it gave us a dramatically improved result.”
Vineyard Church holds contemporary worship services with rock bands carrying a full complement of electric instruments, so the system had to deliver clarity for sermons as well as exceptional music reproduction capability.
To achieve this, there are 3 hangs of five MLA Compact cabinets in a Left, Center, Right setup. As Bob explains, “the front edge of the stage is an arc so the hangs follow that arc with the center array over the center front edge of the stage and the left and right arrays more or less in line with the aisles.
“Inside of those arrays are two flown hangs of 2 MLX subs with 3 DSX subs in pre-existing recessed bunkers fitted into the front of the concrete stage. In my opinion, the MLX would have been sufficient, but the church’s house crew was concerned about having sufficient low end so they added the DSX. There are also two Allen & Heath dLive consoles, one in the main room for FOH, and one in the mix room for their online broadcasts and remote streaming.”
Asked about the choice of MLA Compact and why it succeeded in the proof of concept demo, Bob responds, “There were two things to consider in this space. One was pattern control, critical in any space, being able to use the design software to see where the sound was going to land without spilling over onto reflective surfaces was huge for us. Also, being able to control the sound without having to physically re-rig the boxes was also very important.
“Secondly, the overall tonal characteristics of the system were critical as well. I knew what the church’s musical presentations required and the old system had a harshness that just couldn’t be solved with EQ. They needed a system musical and hi-fi enough to be pushed up to concert levels without it tearing your face off. I was impressed with how the MLA sounds great whether you push the volume up or back it off. Knowing that, when first I heard the MLA Compact during the speaker shootout at WFX, I knew I’d found exactly the right system for this room.”
Summing up, Bob says, “Everybody at the church is very happy with the MLA Compact system so far. We’ve had zero complaints from the audience and lots of walkup compliments, which is something they’ve never had. In fact, they keep a tub of earplugs by the FOH booth and there’s only been one request for earplugs so far, by a person who’s sensitive to higher volumes because of an automobile accident.”
Chris Ratcliff, Tech Director for the Church, offered his reaction to the MLA system: “Listening to the new Martin Audio MLA Compact in our auditorium for the first time after installation was as if someone turned a light switch on and the room came to life. The totality and clarity of the MLA Compact is breathtaking. The ability to hear instruments individually through the PA is amazing. Having voices cut through the mix is like heaven on earth. This set up has low end that can be felt and heard like no other.”