smart design winning innovation awards at the capital

Smart design and ease of use combine in the all-new Capital City Church International. Reece Webb learns how Stage Audio Works delivered an Inavation Award-winning project

When it comes to a demanding place of worship installation, no expense can be

saving. Stage Audio Works (SAW) has been recruited to provide a complete audio visual system that

could accommodate the fluid needs of a modern church, without compromising on quality or usability for the church team with a project that won the 2022 Inavation award in the House of Worship category.

Based in Pretoria, the South African Christian church Capital City Church International (3Ci) has grown from congregations held in homes, school halls and tents to its own dedicated house of worship.

Built from the ground up with a robust and reliable AV system in mind, SAW secured the tender

early in the life of the project, collaborating with the building’s architect, Ferdi le Grange, and acoustician Bruce Gessner to provide a turnkey design for the church’s new needs.

Nathan Ihlenfeldt, Technical Director, Stage Audio Works, says: “We received a first-hand recommendation from another client we had worked with, who recommended the 3Ci team while the project was still in the planning stage. . SAW was brought on board to provide a full sound system for the church’s main hall, in addition to a custom lighting system and background music throughout the building to support the various spaces of the church. ‘church.

Key to the daily operation of the church is ease of use and flexibility for a variety of events and activities that take place at the church. SAW ensured that the technology installed in the church made the best use of staff time.

Ihlenfeldt explains: “The design was informed by experience from other projects. We have developed a combination of products and systems that work well to enable the church to free up volunteer labor. It was part of our design; the church trusted us to put the necessary system in place.

SAW brought in an acoustic engineer who designed an acoustic treatment plan for the client. “Ultimately, the church space must function as a means of transmitting the word. If you have a church with bad sound and bad acoustics, that defeats the point of having a church in the first place. Getting the sound elements right was our top priority,” adds Ihlenfeldt.

Upon entering the church, visitors are greeted by a gigantic main auditorium. With a capacity of 2,500 people, this space houses a sound system that favors sound consistency and the absence of audible gaps between each seat in the auditorium.

In the center of the main auditorium is a d&b sound system. This audio system features d&b Y8/Y12 loudspeakers arranged in left/right suspensions with support for six 10AL output networks on each side of the stage. Further support is provided by the installation of six d&b 27-A and six d&b 21S subwoofers and 30D amplifiers.

Ihlenfeldt explains, “We were able to achieve a really even frequency response and punchy SPL across the room. The combination of stacked and hanging subwoofers provided a very powerful setup.

“It’s about ensuring the directionality and quality of the product, as well as its longevity. This ensures that [the system] provides ethical use of church resources, to ensure there is long-term value. That’s why we chose the d&b system.

A Yamaha CL5 console is used for control of the sound system, providing a reliable platform for everyday church use.

Ihlenfeldt adds, “It’s a stable platform that will work for a long time, and it’s easy to use for the [church] volunteers. A modern contemporary church like this is both a rock and roll venue and an amphitheater. The building must be controlled well enough for loud, amplified music and must also have excellent speech intelligibility for the spoken portions of the service. The acoustician really struck that balance, and the room sounds amazing, providing a very neutral canvas for the sound system we installed.

Acoustic Worx acoustic panels are installed in the ceiling to provide additional sound intelligibility in the room, customized on site to reduce reverberation time and improve intelligibility. The end result is a soundscape with an impressive reverberation of less than 1.2 seconds.

The main auditorium also houses a domestic lighting installation, consisting of a custom Stage Plus RGBW lighting system. Ihlenfeldt explains: “This system is something we have been working on for a long time, to find a cost effective lighting solution for contemporary church applications. We have these fixtures built for us that are DMX controlled and convection cooled, offering warm RGBs and whites. This system is controlled from a QSC Q-SYS system which acts as a central control system for the various sites in the building. The Q-SYS system also acts as a lighting controller.

Ihlenfeldt: “We have Windows touch screens throughout the building, in public areas and elsewhere. We have also installed a fiber optic backbone, as we do on other projects, with Ethernet switches from which we can provide any service, connected to the IP network.

“Because touch screens run on Windows, they can be used for other functions. An HDMI output is included, allowing it to be used as a media player to play videos. This is useful in places such as the children’s church environment while also controlling the DSP of the system. It’s a bit more flexible than using a manufacturer-specific control interface.

The main auditorium also houses a 16×9 3.9mm PixelPlus LED display, a mechanically simple and lightweight rental product installed by K2 Innovate.

“We find that rental products have better accuracy between cabinets when you line them up. This product has been installed in a number of other churches; it does the trick as a cheap product with good image quality and grayscale,” says Ihlenfeldt.

Moving around the venue, the church has its own multi-purpose space for hosting various events, currently fitted with an old sound system from the church’s former tented facility. Eventually, this system will be replaced by a d&b system when finances permit.

There are also classrooms that are part of the Q-SYS system. Most spaces on site are equipped with touch screens for simplified local control of the system, eliminating the need to schedule volunteer training to operate the system.

Wallplates are present throughout the facility, providing a mix of line-level and Bluetooth. Ihlenfeldt says: “In the building’s multipurpose spaces, a variety of religious and outdoor events are held. The church therefore wanted to be able to pair a smartphone with Bluetooth to stream music. We have tried to include additional options for functionality outside of the typical use case within the church.

In other areas of the church, including meeting spaces and church classrooms, a mix of Audac CIRA724 in-ceiling speakers were installed alongside QSC AD-6CT in-ceiling speakers and of AD-6ST surface-mounted speakers.

Ihlenfeldt adds: “This particular project was challenging as the installation took place during the Covid-19 pandemic, so we had some issues getting the kit to site, but apart from the Covid related issues, the installation went smoothly.

“A large percentage of the work on site involved the installation of house lighting. All the lights in the house were hung individually on steel wire, so a lot of work had to be done to rappel down from the roof to put them in the right place.

The project moved quickly and was completed in three weeks, with SAW continuing to maintain a strong relationship as the church team considered further upgrades and improvements.

Ihlenfeldt adds, “We are in constant communication with the customer, almost daily, with support and new requirements. In South Africa, we play a vital role in the ongoing maintenance and high-level strategic thinking of these organizations. »

Eugene Smith, alumnus, 3Ci, concludes: “The experience has been great. The quality of the delivered holistic product is simply amazing. Sound, lighting and acoustics combine to create a truly intimate worship experience despite the size of the auditorium – everyone feels involved. People are impacted. When they walk in, they see excellence. It is far beyond anything we had dreamed of.

List of kits


Acousticworks acoustic panels

Attero Tech Bluetooth Panels

Audac CIRA724 Ceiling Speakers

d&b Y8, Y12 and 10AL, 27A-SUB and

215-SUB subwoofers, 30D amplifiers

QSC AD-6CT ceiling loudspeakers, AD-6ST surface loudspeakers and Q-SYS platform


PixelPlus LED Display


Windows PoE touch panels

Yamaha CL5 Digital Mixing Console

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