Martin Audio MLA Compact Loudpseaker System Resonates in Church Upgrade

Redemption Church enlisted the help of congregation member and Martin Audio specialist for expansion and retrofit project.

Jessica Camerato
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When Redemption Church in Gilbert, Ariz. wanted to expand and retrofit its multipurpose conference and worship center, they turned to someone with firsthand knowledge of its member experience.

Lead Pastor Tim Maughan enlisted the help of Jim Jorgensen, who is not only an audio engineer but also a church member. Jorgensen had worked with Martin Audio as a product support specialist and was involved in a previous installation at the church.

He recommended the Martin Audio MLA Compact system for its coverage and control. After a yearlong fundraising effort, Redemption purchased the MLA Compact system from On Stage Audio, a certified MLA installation partner.

The system included 12 MLA Compact enclosures, Martin Audio Merlin Controllers for loudspeaker and network management, a Yamaha M7CL 48 channel mixer and a custom Whirlwind 64 channel splitter.

“I went to the team I work with and told them the investment in MLA Compact was worth it because we had to replace the sound equipment in every church building we’ve ever been a part of at least two or three times, so it’s more than worth bumping up the budget to get the system that we needed and would last for a long time,” says Maughan.

There were challenges encountered during this project. For example, the walls of the multipurpose center, where the Sunday services are held, were covered in acoustic material and cedar slats for the first eight feet. This caused the audio to sound different above ten feet.

“The control and phase coherence of the MLA Compact system and predictability of the software enables them to make it sound great where the people are and decrease the energy where people aren’t,” says Jorgensen.

The wall space in the multi-purpose center is used for video display and LED projection. The speakers had to be hung in the ceiling out of sight. To address this, Redemption Church implemented Martin Audio Display prediction software to determine the optimum curvature of the arrays.

“The system location actually grew out of a ‘wrestling match’ with video because everyone wanted the same space, so the challenge was finding the right location for the speakers,” says Maughan. “The sound is exactly where we need it to be, which wouldn’t happen with another cabinet.”

Redemption Church features bands ranging from bluegrass to rock music with electric instruments, drums and amplifiers. Maughan wanted the audio system to both reinforce the sound and “make it musical.”

He also wanted to make sure the final results were pleasing to a wide range of congregation members, an objective he believes he accomplished.

“Sound is always very challenging,” Maughan says. “If it’s too loud or too harsh, we get a lot of comments. We have hundreds of older people in the congregation, and this is the first time we’ve done a technical upgrade where we haven’t heard one complaint about the audio. It has worked for everyone across the board and helped them experience the service in a much more meaningful and profound way.”