For several decades, interdenominational campus ministry outreach Student Mobilization has hosted its StuMo Conference (SMC) at the start of each year as an opportunity for college students on winter break to deepen their faith and friendships. For SMC 2023, held at Frisco’s Comerica Center from January 2nd through 5th, more than 3,000 young adults from across the country converged in Texas to sing, learn, pray, and commune. Throughout the four-day event, AVL provider Relevant Audio + Visual of Wichita, Kansas, sonically reinforced the conference with its new L-Acoustics K2 system, ensuring that those in attendance missed neither a word nor a note.
Although 2023 marked the tenth year that Relevant has provided production for SMC, it served as the company’s first opportunity to deploy its own K2 rig for the client, having invested in the loudspeakers just last year. “We’ve worked with local L-Acoustics rental network provider Onstage Systems to bring in K2 and SB28 subs for the past two years, but with our recent purchase of K2, plus additional Kara II and SB18, we were able to meet the event’s needs with our own in-house inventory this year,” says Relevant Audio + Visual Owner and CEO Chris Derstein. “Considering the variety of stage sessions—including talking heads, high-energy live worship music, and a late-night session with a DJ set—the PA had to cater to all of these tasks exceptionally well, and it certainly did. Both SMC and our team were thrilled with the consistent coverage, SPL, and tonality that the system delivered.”
For the conference, Relevant flew main arrays of a dozen K2 per side, each with four Kara II down, while left and right out-fill hangs of eight Kara II provided additional coverage for the arena bowl seats. Six KS28 subs per side, flown in a cardioid configuration behind the main hangs, provided an extended low-frequency response, while X15 HiQ coaxials and SB18 subs offered extra coverage near the stage thrust and supplementary low end for the front rows of the floor. Six LA-RAK II Milan AVB racks, each loaded with three LA12X amplified controllers, powered the main PA, while five LA4X drove a complement of X12 and X8 monitor wedges and stage fills.
“This year, my goal was to not only design a powerful and highly uniform system but also to address some acoustical issues that we’ve encountered in the past,” shares Relevant Audio + Visual Director of Productions and Design Ethan Neuway. “Most of the seating is covered by the main hangs, and the audience plane starts almost right below the main hangs of PA. This led me to add the Kara II down to the K2 to cover from the barrier to the top of the arena bowl with one source. Additionally, we flew out-fills this year to improve coverage and tonality and reduce high-SPL exposure from the previous onstage ground-stacked system design.”
Given the wide variety of presenters and performers at SMC 2023, especially those needing a powerful low-frequency presence, Neuway decided to fly KS28 behind the K2. “This allowed me to have all of my primary sources in close proximity with each other and have more control over timing them,” he says. “It also enabled me to create better LF coverage from the front of the arena to the back.”
The KS28 hangs also helped address some other challenges from previous events. “The arena is surrounded by apartment complexes that have complained about the low frequencies emitted from the building. With the combination of cardioid subs and aligning them with the K2, there was a considerable decrease in the energy behind the stage and outside the building, which reduced those calls. Furthermore, getting that tight sub-energy into the air reduced the high-SPL exposure for those sitting in the front rows. It also attenuated the LF on the stage, providing a more enjoyable experience for those presenting the music and message. In fact, The Worship Initiative, our primary CCM artist this year, used their SMC sessions to multitrack and record videos for an upcoming album. This sub-deployment created a much better environment for them to do that.”
“We are so excited to be working with L-Acoustics now,” Neuway adds. “Not only is the product phenomenal, but the entire workflow, from design to implementation, is amazing. It has sped up my workflow and allowed me to focus more on the PM and FOH roles when on shows. Plus, the team at L-Acoustics is great and always quick to answer questions and get us solutions. We really couldn’t ask for a better partner.”