Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV), a non-denominational Christian church with 10 locations in and around Phoenix, presented its annual “Christmas Under The Stars” event outdoors this year due to the pandemic for an estimated audience of 50,000 people, with the Phoenix office of Clearwing Productions providing sound reinforcement at all locations utilizing more than 200 L-Acoustics loudspeakers.
“It was pretty incredible,” says Clearwing Audio Engineer/Designer Joe Spitzer, who is also a certified L-Acoustics K System Engineer (KSE). “We approached this as we would a music festival with ten separate stages. L-Acoustics had the perfect mix of speakers and technologies to let us design and build PA systems that were exactly matched to each location’s acoustical and coverage needs, as well as make sure we had consistent sound quality across all ten sites. Plus, it was consistent with the sound the church is used to hearing because they have L-Acoustics Kara or Kiva II systems in more than half of their campuses. So the system performance was very familiar to their own engineers.”
The main Peoria campus had the largest system, consisting of a flown PA using seven Kara boxes per side for the main arrays and six more per hang for the side arrays. Six SB28 subwoofers provided low end, and all loudspeakers was powered by four LA-RAK II amplified controllers, each containing three LA12X amplifiers.
The other nine campuses had combinations of six Kara or eight Kiva II loudspeakers per side, most stacked atop a pair of either SB28 or KS28 subs, while two locations had six-Kara hangs flown per side. One location, an auditorium with a wide, fan-shaped seating area, utilized two A15 Wide and two A15 Focus enclosures per side. In all, Clearwing’s technicians deployed 74 Kara, 48 Kiva II, ten X8, six X15 HiQ, six ARCS II, four A15 Focus, four A15 Wide, eight 12XT, and two Syva, paired with a total of 28 SB28, 16 KS28, and four KS21 subs, plus 25 amplified controller racks.
Spitzer supervised the installation crews over five days as they set up systems in each location, then stepped in for the final tunings and calibration. For that, he utilized L-Acoustics Soundvision acoustic prediction software paired with the M1 calibration suite bundled with LA Network Manager on a P1 processor.
One particular application of the LA Network Manager control and monitoring software that was heavily used for “Christmas Under The Stars” was the Autoclimate feature, which allows for the simultaneous adjustment of air-compensation filters based on measured temperature and humidity conditions. “The band would do its soundcheck during the day, but by the time the show was to go on, the temperature had dropped, and there was more moisture in the air,” he says. “The change in humidity, in particular, accentuates high frequencies, and Autoclimate allowed us to automatically compensate for changing air conditions, dialing high frequencies back as needed. It is an awesome capability to have for a set of shows like this.”
CCV Production Director Blair Drake notes the consistent sound qualit between the various outdoor performance locations and how closely it matched what the audience members hear inside the churches. “The Soundvision modeling was extremely accurate — what the software predicted was very true to the end result,” says Drake, who mixed front of house sound at the Peoria campus in addition to overseeing all of the audio crews at the other event locations. “It’s one of the many reasons we’ve been using L-Acoustics for so long.”
He adds that all of CCV’s new locations in the last six years have had Kara and Kiva II PA systems installed, and the pending new locations for 2021, in the Phoenix suburbs of Laveen and Queen Creek, will have L-Acoustics A Series sound systems. “Clearwing did a fantastic job on this project, making it work under very challenging conditions,” he concludes. “But L-Acoustics gave us the right tools to make it all happen.”