Posted in news on March 1, 2017 2:04 pm EST

New Audio System for Historic Los Angeles Cathedral-Style Church

CCI Solutions designs L-Acoustics Kiva and X Series system for a traditional worship environment at LA's First Baptist Church.

An L-Acoustics Kiva array, SB series subs and X8 coaxials are installed at First Baptist Church of Los Angeles.











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TAGS: architectural design, audio, audio upgrade, historic renovation, intelligibility, mutipurpose,


By Church Designer Staff

Built in 1927, First Baptist Church of Los Angeles is a shining example of traditional purpose-built, cathedral-style architecture. The audio system there was extremely traditional as well, until the congregation turned to CCI Solutions of Olympia, Wash., to design and install a new system centered on Kiva and X Series enclosures from L-Acoustics.

Modeled on the Palace of Ducal in Italy, the historical landmark is reminiscent of a European cathedral—deep and narrow with soaring 60-foot ceilings. And in addition to services for a number of congregations, it regularly serves as a shooting location for films and TV shows. All of this creates a unique audio challenge.

"Even with the extremely high ceilings and hard-to-reach locations for the fill speakers, rigging the speakers up went very smoothly."

—Todd Gathany, Project Lead, CCI Solutions, Olympia, WA

“It’s a cavernous space and really multi-use for a church,” says CCI Solutions’ Duke DeJong. ”It is almost like a convention center that the church owns and meets in. The main congregation doesn’t fill the auditorium, but they rent the space out to other larger congregations. So when we took on the job, there were multiple sound systems cobbled together to cover the range of uses. The goal was to have one good, clean system that could handle anything they threw at it. And given the movie and TV uses, it had to be low profile. L-Acoustics’ Kiva fit the bill perfectly.”

Quest for a solution

Systems from a number of manufacturers were considered, including some noted for high-tech pattern control, but they proved to be the wrong fit in terms of both profile and cost.

“We’ve really fallen in love with L-Acoustics products over the last four or five years,” DeJong continues. “They make some really great sounding speakers and they’re both very high-quality and cost-effective, which for church installs is a big issue.”

Another issue HOW installers and crews struggle with is intelligibility. Music is one thing, but in a church, spoken word is the main thing. DeJong says, “All of the L-Acoustics systems we use, including Kiva, have a great warmth-to-articulation ratio. You can’t go into a church environment with a really aggressively voiced system. Spoken word and music have to co-exist without either sounding flabby or harsh, and the Kiva strikes a really nice balance between warmth and articulation.”

Ease of use and installation—especially in a building with such high ceilings—was another important factor. “Installation has the potential to be a monstrous task in a room of this size,” comments Todd Gathany, CCI Solutions’ project lead for First Baptist Church of Los Angeles. “Even with the extremely high ceilings and hard-to-reach locations for the fill speakers, rigging the speakers up went very smoothly.”

Design win

The system is centered on a single center-hung, seven-enclosure Kiva array supplemented by two flown SB15 and SB28 subs on the floor, plus X8 coaxial enclosures filling in a couple of areas that the main array doesn’t effectively reach.

At first, the system’s diminutive size looked like it might prove to be an issue with some of the audiences. “The home congregation was fine, but the others were more skeptical when they saw the size of the array,” Gathany recalls. “But you could actually see the attitude change as they began to push the system. They kept asking our people if they could turn it up more until they got it to a point where they said they didn’t want to go any louder for their services. When they were assured that they still had plenty of headroom and the system was not being pushed, they were as sold as we are on Kiva.”




Learn more about the companies in this story:

CCI Solutions





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