Founded in 1930, Glad Tidings Church has served Vancouver for over nine decades in three different locations. Established in its current location since 1963, the church built a new 1900-capacity sanctuary in 1983 which remains its home today. Whilst the structure of the auditorium has changed little over the years, it has continued to evolve at a technical level. The most recent development has been the design and installation of a brand new HALO-C compact line array system from British manufacturer, EM Acoustics.
Recognising the need to replace their aging point source system with something more modern and efficient, Glad Tidings approached Canadian production company and AV integrator, Gearforce, headed by Bryan Adams’ long-term monitor engineer, Rob Nevalainen. Whilst the touring scene is currently on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nevalainen has turned his considerable expertise to designing audio systems. He takes up the story: “This year Glad Tidings has a new pastor who was keen to revitalize the building and grow the congregation. One of his most important criteria was to ensure that his words could be heard clearly throughout the auditorium so that every member of the congregation could benefit from the same worship experience, regardless of where they were seated.”
Gearforce was asked to specify a sound system that could deliver exceptional audio yet come in at a reasonable price point. Specifically, Nevalainen and co-designer Dakota Poncilius were looking for a system with a high level of predicatability and even propagation. “We looked at all of the major manufacturers, and EM Acoustics came out ahead,” says Nevalainen. “They were the only ones that matched all of the criteria, so it was an easy choice.”
The previous sound system was concealed behind a scrim above the stage. For minimum disruption, Nevalainen and Poncilious decided to maintain that design approach, meaning that the new system was also flown behind the scrim. “We only had an aperture of six feet deep to work with, meaning that we had to use a system that allowed us to achieve sufficient vertical coverage through a small opening as well as even horizontal coverage. EM Acoustics’ HALO-C compact line array supported by EMS-129s and an S-18 subwoofer array allowed us to deliver a consistent audio experience from the near seats right to the upper balcony where previously there was no coverage at all.”
Gearforce designed a system based on a central hang of six HALO-C cabinets supplemented by a pair of EMS-129s in a column configuration per side, and a further EMS-129 per side to cover the outer sections. Low frequencies were handled by an array of six EM Acoustics S-18 compact reflex subwoofers. Six EMS-41 front fills and a further seven EMS-41 under-balcony fills complete the line-up. The system is powered and controlled entirely by EM Acoustics Advanced System Amplifiers – two DQ20s and a DQ6 – which also handle all system routing and processing.
Glad Tidings Sound Director, Bien Bernadino, is pleased to note a significant improvement. “The sound clarity we have achieved with the new system is amazing. Properly tuned to the space, it delivers balanced sound throughout the spectrum. In particular, it eliminates the spikes in the high and mid-high frequencies which used to be a huge issue with our old system. It also delivers the punch on the low end without the congregation complaining that it’s too loud. Another major improvement is in coverage – we can now cover the sanctuary from end to end with no dead spots or uneven coverage. Coupled with the front fills and under-balcony system, we now have clear, intelligible audio throughout the room. Everybody benefits from the same audio experience at the same intensity, regardless of where they are seated. It’s made a huge difference to the worship experience.”
The final word goes to Rob Nevalainen: “HALO-C was an excellent choice for this application,” he concludes. “It’s laser-precise directivity, especially in the vertical plane, allowed us to precisely target the areas required whilst keeping energy off the stage which greatly increased gain before feedback. Supported by the rest of the system, coverage throughout the venue is smooth, even and crystal clear. We’re very pleased with the results from our side of the fence and the client is delighted.”