Compass Points Towards K-array

The Compass Church — a 3,000-member, multi-site church located in the Chicago suburbs—selected the K-array KR200S loudspeakers to reinforce the live sound of its diverse and progressive worship services. The speakers are used in the church’s new multi-site location in the gymnasium of nearby Crone Middle School, known as the 111 Campus.

"We were blown away by the K-arrays," recalls Josh Tryon, technology director at The Compass Church. "For spoken word, the K-array was hands down the best. The clarity was amazing, whereas the other boxes were just mediocre. What was especially surprising was that the sounds we were getting from the speakers did not look possible given their physical size!" Tryon was also surprised that a single individual can load in the entire system, carrying a rifle case in each hand and a subwoofer under each arm.

Working with Frankfort, Illinois-based integrator Plus One AV, The Compass Church had identified some core requirements the audio system for the 111 Campus would need to overcome. First, the system would need to be extremely easy to set up and tear down each week.

Second, since the facility is a gymnasium, the system would need to be acoustically flexible and able to provide superior sound for both spoken word and live music. Marty Fornelli of Plus One AV arranged a competitive shoot-out between the K-array KR200S and two systems from a competitive brand and set up each system side by side in The Compass Church’s main sanctuary.

Showing up for work each Sunday

A typical Sunday at the 111 Campus consists of two separate services, each of which feature spoken word and a full rock band consisting of a digital drum set, electric guitar and bass. In addition to lead and backing vocals, each instrument is plugged directly into the active K-array system, which requires no space-consuming rackmount gear or power amplifiers.

Tryon says that they typically run the system at only about 93 dB during a given performance, even though the system is capable of running at 127 dB continuous.

"This is plenty of volume for the gymnasium, especially considering the reflective acoustics. We’re not even pushing the K-arrays," Tryon observes.

The KR200S features a line array of two-inch, high-efficiency drive units, which are engineered for maximum linear excursion. Tryon appreciates how this speaker design allows him to tailor the direction of the soundwaves with great precision: "The pattern coming off of the speakers is 120 degrees wide – it is nice and tight. This really makes a difference in a gymnasium so you are not shotgunning sound everywhere; it also helps us with decay times and you can control reverberation more effectively. You can tilt the speakers or walk outside of the sound pattern very easily." 

Since installing the system, which also includes four K-array KL18MA subwoofers, Tryon and his technical team have had several inquiries from neighboring churches on how to run sound for multi-site locations. When doing live demos at the 111 Campus, they are routinely asked, "Where are the speakers?" before their guests recognize the slim, discreet and powerful system right before their very eyes.

In addition to the K-array KR 200S and the KL18MA subwoofers, the 111 Campus uses a full complement of Sennheiser evolution and G3 series wireless microphones and wireless personal monitors as well as Sennheiser HD 280 headphones for monitoring the live mix.


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