Rivers Church connects the congregation with d&b ArrayProcessing

Fri, 07 Oct 2016 11:05

Rivers Church in Sandton, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa, has recently built itself a new home and in so doing doubled its capacity for services. The new church can accommodate three thousand congregants; the sanctuary is fan shaped with a single balcony and in many ways conforms to the current trend in contemporary church architecture. By engaging Stage Audio Works the church solved a classic dilemma at the same time, as Head of Sound for worship music, Andrew Illgner explained: “Our pastors André and Wilma Olivier, never wanted it to be two churches, those at the front feeling fully engaged, and those at the back, a little removed. So it’s in how we address our audience where the benefits of ArrayProcessing have proved such a discernible difference.”

ArrayProcessing (AP), an advanced line array optimization tool from d&b audiotechnik, was not yet available when the church first contacted Stage Audio Works. “In terms of audio system design, Rivers Church has used us previously at their Youth Facility and the Durban campus,” began Stage Audio Works’ project manager Nathan Ihlenfeldt. “They first contacted us about this new-build church two years ago. I spoke with Stefan Goertz at d&b’s Education and Application Support department and we designed a sound solution using d&b V-Series loudspeakers driven by D80 amps. Then AP arrived. We looked very closely at that; it had the potential to directly address that sense of engagement which the Oliviers so clearly desired. Initially the additional amplifier channels required to implement AP made the cost prohibitive, then d&b’s new 30D install amps came along.”

The improved emotional engagement was not without repercussions. “We soon found that elated congregations, especially the younger members, are more frequently attracted to stand up and approach the dias,” said Illgner. “This creates its own problems, not least blocking the d&b E12-Ds installed by Stage Audio Works for frontfill. A quick solution easily implemented by Nathan’s team, was to add a pair of flown V7Ps, the point source V variant. By getting these cabinets flown above head height the problem has been solved. Myself and Ed Helliwell our Technical Director got to hear the V7P at Mannheim along with the AP demo, so we knew what we were getting.

“That illustrates what a great job Stage Audio Works does; other suppliers can often just sell you a product and then walk away. We have multiple venues in South Africa and find with Stage Audio Works’ approach it’s not just product led, they bring their experience and knowledge to aid us in achieving a full solution. Since we’ve moved to the new church quite a few people have come to me after the service and commented on the difference of experience. They use words like ‘connected’ to describe what they hear, ‘it’s as if the Pastor is stood right in front of us’, they say. So in that sense AP has delivered exactly what we were all looking for.”