AV Case Study: Hukanui Bible Church
Three years of renovations result in a revitalised worship experience for attenders of this New Zealand church.
Story: Graeme Hague
The Hukanui Bible Church is located in Hamilton on the North Island of New Zealand. The church was first built in the 1970s, which in the scheme of all things church-related in NZ makes it practically brand new. Even so, around three years ago the church Elders decided the building needed a serious renovation, improving the facilities and making the place more in tune with what houses of worship are providing their congregations in the 21st century. This included among the grand plans switching the main auditorium 180 degrees, then creating a new foyer, plus a creche and a café that doubled as smaller meeting areas. Of course, a full upgrade of the in-house AV equipment was required, and this meant a proper PA instalment in that auditorium, replacing gear over 20 years old.
The project was given to Jonathon McMillan of Harmony Tech, also based in Hamilton. Jonathon has been doing AV installations both large and small, commercial and domestic, since 2006 and brings a wealth of experience into every job.
With a such a major restructure of the actual building, the good news was that Harmony Tech had the opportunity to do much of the work while the builders were ripping the place apart anyway – access was relatively easy. However, it still wasn’t quite like a new worksite where consideration for AV and smart equipment is given during the early planning.
Everybody loves the audio system. The coverage in the room is complete, and the clarity is perfect. You couldn’t ask for more.
UP THE WALL
Jonathon admits, “The cabling side of things was a huge job.” The task was made all the more tricky by that flipped auditorium, resulting in the main stage now backing up against a 7m-high wall that mostly consisted of windows. Chasing cabling through the floor wasn’t an option because it supposedly (you know what’s coming, right?) had underfloor heating providing by a network of water pipes. Instead, Jonathon ran ducting all around the exterior of the building to reach those difficult locations. After this was successfully achieved, someone remembered and told Jonathon that the underfloor heating was actually electrical, not water-based, and hadn’t been in use for years. Grab a concrete saw and knock yourself out.
Who says the Church doesn’t have a sense of humour?
On the bright side, the view from clinging to the outside of that 7m wall must have been breath-taking.
The church Elders had complete confidence in Harmony Tech to come up with a system design, and with Jonathon being a member of the congregation he was well-familiar with how services and activities were run, and how best a new AV system could serve this. Jonathon then turned to NAS to advise him on the acoustics and in particular mapping the auditorium space with d&b’s ArrayCalc software. The skillion roof of the auditorium means the rear wall is less than three metres, while the opposing wall along with its large glass area is more than twice that. Reverberations and reflections were going to be an issue. Jonathon happily admits, “NAS was with me every step of the way with Kelvin (Kelvin Colling, NAS NZ General Manager) doing all of the work. He had all the answers.”
On the main stage a pair of d&b Yi10P loudspeakers take care of left and right, with a centre fill coming from a single d&b 8S. Enclosed in purpose-built stage extensions either side is a pair of d&b 18S-Sub subwoofers. Everything is powered by a d&b 40D DSP amplifier.
Feeds from the auditorium audio mixer were sent to the café, creche and foyer areas via an Ashly mXa-1502 mixer/amplifier which allows staff to either relay what’s happening on stage, or they can run independent programming in their areas. There are access points for microphones and Bluetooth devices, and software assignable level controls throughout. The café is covered by four Soundtube SM82-EZ-II-WX speakers and the foyer by eight Soundtube CM82-BGM speakers driven by an Ashly CA-502 amplifier in bridge mode. The creche only needed a pair of the CM82-BGM speakers and a Cloud MA80FT mini amplifier.
With a project like this running over almost three years, you can imagine that everyone has a range of opinions on everything and has their two-cents worth to offer – that’s normal. However, Jonathon is pleased and proud to say, “Everybody loves the audio system. The coverage in the room is complete, and the clarity is perfect. You couldn’t ask for more.” The rest of the system is a good compromise of utilising today’s technology while making sure it’s very user-friendly. Thanks to NAS, its products and support, the Hukanui Bible Church is hoping for at least another 20 years of solid and reliable AV performance.
After that, will Jonathon advise the next AV integrator (if it’s not him) about the underfloor heating system? Probably not – everyone likes a good laugh.