From its start in 1996 as a small independent plant by Grandville, Michigan’s Resurrection Life Church, Radiant Church in the Richland suburb of Kalamazoo has steadily grown its membership to 3,500 members.
Recently expanding its service count to four each weekend – two on Saturday and two on Sunday – the church also freshly upgraded the audio facilities of its 1,050-seat sanctuary with a new ARCS “WiFo” (Wide and Focus) loudspeaker system from L-Acoustics.
Parkway Electric & Communications of Holland, MI provided the design and integration of the new system, which replaced an outdated PA rife with hot/dead spots and uneven low-frequency coverage. The installation and commissioning process took Parkway only four days, which also included re-purposing the previous rig for the church’s youth facility.
Today, the main sanctuary system includes left and right arrays each comprised of four ARCS Focus enclosures flown in front of two SB18 subs per side. A single ARCS Wide system is vertically hung on the outside of each array to address the far left and right seating areas of the wide-yet-shallow sanctuary, while two centrally-flown SB28 augment the low end reinforcement. Four LA4 amplified controllers drive the entire system.
According to Parkway’s Gary Zandstra, the new ARCS WiFo system resolved two major challenges. “Radiant’s audio crew previously had a difficult time creating a mix that the whole room could enjoy; there were numerous hot spots where low frequencies would overpower the listener and distract them from the music and message,” he says.
“The second issue was that a large amount of audio energy was being misdirected into the ceiling and back wall, creating a muddy sounding room with unwanted reflections,” Zandstra continues. “ARCS WiFo offers a -10 dB sharp cutoff outside of the 15 [Focus] or 30 [Wide] degree pattern, which nicely provided smooth coverage throughout the entire seating area while very effectively keeping the energy off of the reflective surfaces.”
Radiant Church production director Thayne Asaro notes that the new L-Acoustics system completely changes the feeling of the room. “There is not a bad seat in the sanctuary now and the crossover between boxes is impressively transparent,” he statess. “In worship, we’re able to have distinct intelligibility between various instruments and vocals creating a unique stereo separation, which leads to a more immersive worship experience.
“Spoken word is also vastly improved with the addition of the side fills, plus some acoustical treatment on the side and back walls, improving speech intelligibility and eliminating bounce back. My sound engineers have had nothing but great things to say about how much easier it is now to create a good mix.”
Radiant worship pastor Brandon Taets leads a praise team of five vocalists and seven-piece band, plus occasional guest musicians, all backed up with enhancement tracks and loops for a high-energy worship experience.
“We’ve had a number of our pastors and staff mention the difference in clarity and coverage as they sat in the front section of the sanctuary, while many of our congregation members that normally sit in the outer sections have told us that they finally feel like they’re truly a part of the service,” Taets says. “In the past, it was very apparent that our far left and right seating areas were not nearly as engaged as those sitting in the center coverage of our preexisting system.”
“ARCS WiFo finds the sweet spot between value and high quality sound allowing our church to be a proper steward of its resources while not sacrificing excellence,” adds Asaro. “I’d highly recommend it to any house of worship that is looking for smooth, crisp audio that will do exactly what it needs to do without any unnatural coloration.”