The history of 3Crosses Church is inextricably intertwined with that of the East Bay region of San Francisco’s Bay Area. The church was founded as a congregation of three elderly women and a Sunday school of 15 in 1937, the same year that saw completion of both the San Francisco Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge. When the church moved from its origins in Oakland to a new building in Castro Valley at the close of the 1960s, dirt from the church’s construction site became part of what is now the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (now the Oracle Arena and RingCentral Coliseum).

In this time, there had been just three senior pastors heading the church. As Dr Danny Strange became the fourth senior pastor in 2019, the church moved to upgrade the 20-year-old sound system in its main sanctuary.

3Crosses Church Since Michael Garrison founded Michael Garrison Associates (MGA) in 1976, the design-build firm has specialised in sound solutions for houses of worship. 3Crosses asked the company to propose a solution for its 1,500-seat auditorium that would improve coverage and deliver better LCR imaging. But what MGA came up with was not what the technical staff at 3Crosses expected.

‘The biggest issue in the room was a lack of good, solid low end,’ says 3Crosses Audio Director and Crew Chief, Dave Staats,. ‘It didn’t have punch, and it took a lot of EQ to get it even to sound acceptable. It was a constant battle.’ Garrison quickly realised that a traditional line array system couldn’t deliver the horizontal coverage needed in the wide room, so he turned to EAW’s Adaptive Systems.

‘We had kind of decided what we wanted and how it was going to be done,’ 3Crosses Technical Director Patrick Brandon recalls. ‘But then MGA brought us another alternative.’ MGA’s new idea looked like a curveball to 3Crosses, according to crew member Dennis Staats, who also operates his own consultancy, Dennis Staats Engineering. ‘MGA had made a proposal that offered a choice of three different types of systems. The third option was an EAW Adaptive System,’ he recounts. ‘We were highly sceptical and basically dead set against even considering it.’

But the 3Crosses team trusted MGA enough to make a trip to Abundant Living Faith Center in El Paso, Texas, which had installed a similar system, and give it a listen. What they heard completely changed their minds. ‘To walk into that room and hear what was possible was an experience of a lifetime,’ Brandon reports. ‘This was truly a revolutionary new way to hear sound in a room with all kinds of sonic problems. The EAW Anna full-range array modules sounded incredible.’

This was enough to convince the team of the system’s viability but there was more: ‘The system exceeded our goals because not only could every person in the auditorium have the same experience, but every person in the room could have stereo,’ Brandon asserts.

MGA installed 16 Anya full-range array modules, with five modules in each of the left and right arrays and six in the centre array. Low-frequencies were supplied by four Otto adaptive subwoofers. Anya’s distinctive winged cabinet shape signals right away. Inside each module, 14 1-inch-exit, 25mm voice coil compression drivers are loaded on a proprietary horn whose mouth nearly fills the entire face of the enclosure. Six five-inch cone transducers are arranged in two columns, which use Radial Phase Plugs and Concentric Summation Array technology to sum their energy coherently with the HF wavefront in the horn. Two 15-inch cone transducers use Offset Aperture loading to increase the spacing of their apparent acoustical centres, extending effective horizontal pattern control well into the LF range.

3Crosses Church Anya columns hang straight, with no splay, eliminating the need for pullbacks of any kind, and can achieve up to 70° of coverage from each column. EAW’s Resolution 2 software controls the performance of Anya’s 22 drivers, each of which has its own DSP and amplifier channel, enabling Anya arrays to exhibit asymmetric, and sometimes downright radical, coverage patterns.

‘The beauty of that is that you keep energy off of the side walls to eliminate high-energy reflections,’ states Staats. ‘Being able to keep all of the energy in the areas that you want it and out of the areas where you don’t is mind-blowing.’

Everyone involved has been converted to believing in Adaptive Technology. ‘Now we have a tool in our toolbelt that can deliver solutions other tools haven’t been able to achieve,’ notes Garrison.

Staats is pleased to admit his initial impression has been changed: ‘We have gone from being strict opponents of the idea to being proponents – you might even want to use the word evangelists – of this technology,’ he enthuses. ‘I think anyone that doesn’t consider this system in any install would be making a huge mistake.’


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