Located just outside Nashville, in Clarksville Tennessee, the Tabernacle Church undertook a ‘monumental change’ in 2017 to keep pace with its tremendous growth.

An ambitious construction project followed, adding 65,000sq-ft to its campus, including a 1,500-seat performance space, and was accompanied by a rebranding – as the Mosaic Church.

Mosaic ChurchWith the construction work complete, audio and integration firm Holly Media was recently called in to oversee the expansion of the performance space, with owner Fred Holly leading the design effort: ‘‘Tabernacle seemed old fashioned,’ he says. ‘The name didn’t match the demographic of our church because it’s very diverse and thriving – the new Mosaic Church wanted to reflect that. With new dynamics and changing needs, the scope of the ministry has changed—it’s become a new work.’

The original structure was a smaller sanctuary [about 200 seats] and was insufficient space for many years. The church adapted for larger congregations by expanding Sunday services to four per day. Recently, Covid constraints saw the church ‘go mobile’, moving its worship service to a local high school, setting up and tearing down in the parking lot each week.

Aside from general construction, Holly brought his 30-plus years of pro audio experience to bear on the performance space, and the subsequent procurement of an audio system and its installation. ‘With my ideas for the shape of the room, I didn’t want to encounter any problems later on,’ he says. ‘I wanted the diffusion to be completely natural — with the splay of the walls and installing surface treatment.

Not only did Holly Media tackle the challenges between space design and installing sound systems, Fred Holly pulled in one of his trusted resources for advanced surface techniques and sound damping. ‘Usually when clients show me plans for a church, it’s obvious architects know nothing about acoustics,’ says Jay Perdue, owner and designer at Perdue Acoustics, and the lead instructor of architectural acoustics at InfoComm University. ‘They’re more focused on what it’s going to look like versus what it’s going to sound like.’

Perdue immediately recognised something about this new space was unique: ‘When I first saw the room design, I thought Fred really did his homework,’ he explains. ‘The shape of the room was very nice with no corners to deal with. I checked all the parallelisms and found slap-back on the back wall was a non-issue. I not only check a room for echo and reverberation, I conduct intelligibility testing as well. After a 13-point check throughout the space, it has the flattest response I’ve ever seen.’

Holly has worked with most major audio brands and was looking for a sound system to deliver. ‘Being in this business for as long as I have, I’ve come from the old school thinking that having a solid, heavy box would also give solid frequency response — or a chance at it,’ Holly says. ‘At first I thought to spec a JBL V 20 rig, but in the spirit of transformation, I wanted to find something new.’

Referred to RCF and introduced to [RCF product specialist and system designer] Jim Reed, his curiosity was piqued: ‘When we spoke, Jim said he was willing to demo an RCF TT rig personally, he had my attention.’ He notes. ‘I sent him the final room schematic and he returned an EASE drawing, and I was like, “when can you come?” I was very excited about the possibilities.’

Reed put together a system that included: 16 [2x8] TTL 55-A active line array modules, four companion TTS 56-AS active subwoofers, two TT 25-CXA active floor monitors, and four TT 20-CXA active monitors for the stage. For added coverage, Reed also added nine HDL 26-A active line arrays for centre and front fill for added coverage. At FOH is an Allen & Health dLive s7000 mixing console.

‘Pulling everything out of the box, I was pleasantly surprised at the weight of it [TTL 55-A module]. The stuff is hardcore, man. I’m an old military guy, so I know that if it’s heavy, it must be expensive.’
Once all the products were out of their boxes and flown, Holly was also surprised at the time it took to test the sound system. On completion of the installation, RCF product specialist Zachary Anthony was brought in to provide tuning, optimisation, and training.

‘The sound quality from a TT rig is exceptional, and paired with the acoustic treatments, the room is near perfect.’ said Anthony. ‘I stopped turning up at 110dB at mix position. Listening to that system is like listening to a giant pair of studio monitors – this room is an absolute pleasure to mix in.’

Mosaic Church celebrated with a socially distanced congregation of about 700 proud parishioners and many who contributed to the church’s re-emergence.

More: www.rcf.it

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