A large NEXO STM M28 modular line array system has been commissioned in a California church, where the worship team and the audio engineering experts are delighted with the sonic results they’ve achieved for an affordable outlay.
Thanks to Andy McDonough, and CHURCH PRODUCTION magazine for letting us use this article.
The new campus at Rocklin joins a network of five Bayside Church campuses in the Sacramento area. When Bayside took over the day-to-day operations at the new venue, Bayside’s production director Jake Cody had hoped that the existing sound system in the 3,000-seat modern worship centre would be sufficient.
“To be good stewards,” he says, “we looked to see what we could do with what was already installed at Rocklin. What we found was an older audio system with limited coverage that was designed more for spoken word and musical theatre. It just wasn’t up to standards for modern worship.” Even the best efforts of the experienced audio team couldn’t get the sound needed by the worship team. As a result, additional equipment had to be rented to reinforce sound. After renting for several months, it became clear that a more permanent solution was needed, especially if the church was to become a Bayside campus.
To design the best and most cost-effective system for the Rocklin location, Cody called on Aaron Padilla, Bayside’s senior audio director and Lee Fields, FOH engineer for Bayside’s main campus, and Lincoln Brewster, pastor and a well-respected Christian music artist. Like Cody, Padilla and Fields bring years of touring experience with major acts and have worked extensively with gear from many top-of-the-line audio providers. Their experience with Yamaha systems, both on the road and at other Bayside campuses, made NEXO a clear favorite for this installation. According to Cody, in addition to great sound quality that aligns well with Bayside’s worship style and proven durability, NEXO components provide a strong economic advantage.
“We could have spent three times the cost on a different system,” says Cody, “but the value that the NEXO system presents is unique.”
The modern worship space at Rocklin presented some special challenges—being deep, with a particularly wide seating area. In addition, a balcony area presented a large, flat face that needed to be avoided. The team knew that even coverage for the wide room would make component choices critical. To achieve the best possible result, the team used NEXO’s free NS1 design software to configure and simulate a system design that would optimize the audio performance and ensure uniform SPL coverage.
With financing in place and tentative system designs in hand, Fields and Padilla visited the NEXO facility in Plailly, France, to share thoughts about the system design and set up variations of the proposed system at the company’s outside venue. While the outside venue could not present the same room dynamics at the campus, Fields and Padilla were pleased with the trial. “We found the design to present the warm sound that we expected with punch from the top, clean and clear,” recalls Padilla who expected the system to require very little tweaking to get a good sound good. “We expected this NEXO configuration to behave like our other system designs,” he notes, “with very minimal EQ needed for high-end and no major tuning requirements.”
For consistency with other Bayside campuses and for easy reconfiguration, the audio design at the Rocklin location would be set up touring style. Rather than a permanent install, where feasible, components were installed in road cases on wheels with snakes used for connectivity. Suspended audio components would be rigged with hoists. “This allows set up us to reconfigure quickly for special events,” says Padilla. “
“For example, we can accommodate special set-ups for holiday services and events in the round the same way as we do at other campuses, and at a moment’s notice.” Cody recognizes that the tour-ready systems come at a premium, but the benefits of the touring hardware, he says, are well worth the modest increase in cost.
The unique design for a stereo system at Rocklin called for two arrays each consisting of 14x NEXO STM M28 omni-purpose modules that provide 90 degrees to 120 degrees of horizontal dispersion and a 0-15-degree splaying angle between modules. Each module pairs two eight-inch high-excursion drivers for low frequencies with two 2.5-inch voice coil, 1.4-inch throat high-frequency drivers. In addition, 9x NEXO STM B112 bass cabinets were added to each side. The B112 is a hybrid horn-loaded design that features a high-excursion 3000W 12-inch bass driver with a four-inch voice coil. The ultimate design realized both cost savings and efficiency, using M28 modules aligned alongside B112 bass cabinets. “It’s an unusual configuration,” noted Padilla, “that we looked to Yamaha to approve for our installation. To our knowledge, Rocklin is the only place that this has been done.”
To further bolster the low frequencies, 8x NEXO RS18 subwoofers were installed along the front of the stage. Each cabinet houses two 18-inch long-excursion neodymium drivers that extend system response down to 30Hz. At either side of the wide room, 3x NEXO GEO S12 two-box systems provide sufficient side fill. Each S12 system is comprised of an S1210 module (with shallow tapering to the cabinet rear) and an S1230 module (with steeper tapering, allowing for larger array angles). 6x NEXO PS10s, each with a 10-inch low-frequency and one-inch high-frequency driver and a rotatable asymmetrical horn, were carefully placed as front fill speakers.
The team made the obvious choice of NEXO NXAMP4x4 power amps to power the system, 15 units in total. For quality sound, consistency with other Bayside campus locations, and to minimize training needs, Yamaha CL5s mixing consoles were installed at monitor and FOH positions. Each console provides a mixing capacity of 72 mono and eight stereo channels along with the flexibility of 24 mix buses and eight matrices. For access to inputs, two Rio 3224-D were initially installed at FOH and then moved to stage area utilizing a fibre connection on a redundant system of four Cisco SG300 managed switches. Two IP switches are located at the RIO racks and two at FOH.
For Rocklin, Cody knew they needed to provide a system that would be able to deliver on the high expectations for powerful Bayside services. “At the same time,” he says, “we felt like we had to choose the right system when viewed through the filter of fiscal responsibility.” To meet the technical challenge, the team designed a great sounding, affordable system pairing NEXO components. Orchestrating a partnership with Amplio, an innovative integrator, made the great system a financially possibility for the church. “The completed NEXO system sounds ridiculously good,” says Cody. “There is clarity in the high end and, at the same time, the presence in the low mids is unreal.”
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