Pyxis Puts Faith in Electro-Voice for North Coast Church Installs
Six weeks isn’t much time to go from an initial customer inquiry to having PA systems on-site and ready to rig. But when Pyxis Industries in Riverside, California was asked by North Coast Church to bid on the design and installation of sound systems at two different locations, owner Chad Costanzo didn’t hesitate. “These installations had to come together extremely quickly,” Costanzo says. “But our past experience with Electro-Voice gave us total confidence that everything would work out fine. And it did.”
Based in Vista, California, North Coast has long been a leader in the deployment of multiple venues to bring the church closer to its congregants. Its two newest purpose-built venues are “North Coast Live” and “The Edge.” The vendor that had originally been retained to design and install sound reinforcement systems for the sites had to pull out of the project only two months before opening day at both facilities. Pyxis got the call from North Coast, and Costanzo went to work with systems engineer Alan DiCato, deciding how to handle the project within the church’s allocated budget.
While the previous provider had already specified designs based on products from a different supplier, Pyxis proposed using an Electro-Voice system instead. “EV has become our go-to manufacturer, because the installs we’ve done with their products have always sounded great right out of the box,” Costanzo says. “And we also knew that EV and their local rep, Quantum Sales, would be able to assist us in making these tight timelines and staying within budget. Both factors were crucial, because, with that short of a time-frame, any issues we had would be a big problem for everyone.”
Pyxis had the two systems designed, priced, and approved within three weeks. “EV has such a broad line of different boxes that we were able to choose something that fit the application and the price point really well,” DiCato says. The core elements of both systems are “exploded array” clusters drawn from Electro-Voice’s Xi-series, which brings premium, tour-quality sound to the installation market. While the rooms are physically dissimilar — one is rectangular and the other more trapezoidal, and their ceilings are different heights — the clusters are identical except for the angles of the speakers.
“Line arrays would not have been a good choice for these rooms,” DiCato says. “We didn’t have the ceiling height we would have needed, and in one of the rooms we had an odd shape to cover. The exploded array design allowed us to angle the boxes in each room to get the coverage we needed, and also to use fewer boxes and fewer amps channels to get that coverage, which allowed us to stay within the customer’s budget.”
The clusters combine full-range Xi-1153A/64F three-way, 15-inch, medium-throw loudspeakers and Xi-122MHA/64F ultra-compact, high-output, two-way loudspeakers. “We use the 1153s for longer-throw coverage of the main seating area,” DiCato says, “and the 1122s for front fills and down fills.”
“The Xi boxes sound great without a lot of additional processing,” Costanzo says, “and they are very versatile, so they really cover the multiple uses that are planned for these rooms, from a Sunday church service, to a Friday night concert, to conferences and youth groups during the week. And their waveform shaping gives them really good pattern control all the way down below 500 Hz. That allowed us to aim well and control our cutoffs precisely. We have three down-fills hanging below the main cabinets, directly above the stage, so we needed very good control to get good gain-before-feedback. And we had no issues with that at all.”
The low end for both systems is augmented by three dual-18 Xsubs in concrete bunkers below the stage, while stage monitoring is handled by four TX1122 FM stage wedges at each venue. “They are a great-sounding monitor at a great price point,” Costanzo says.
Power is provided by Electro-Voice CPS series amplifiers. “The amps have headroom galore,” DiCato says, “so nothing needs to work hard at all.” Costanzo adds that the CPS amps are “known for their reliability, which is great for the HOW market. They will have the amps for a long time without any failures. They sound great – you really can’t go wrong with them.”
For system control, Pyxis chose an Electro-Voice NetMax N8000-1500 with three added DSP cards. “NetMax is an incredible tool,” DiCato says. “We’ve looked at other systems, and nothing comes close in terms of flexibility and ease of programming. It was easy to get everything set up because it has a very intuitive user interface. All the cabinet models are right there in the library, so you can you just drag them in from the menu.”
That ease of setup turned out to be critical because Pyxis didn’t gain access to the live venue until the Wednesday before the Sunday opening. “They were still painting the booth and hooking up power,” Costanzo recalls. “But it all went together how it was supposed to, and worked the first time. We only made very minor adjustments, and I was able to do that all in real-time, running NetMax and Smaart together on my laptop out in the venue. I could make changes in NetMax and see it respond immediately in Smaart. It was great.”
The NetMax systems also included optional digital I/O cards that allow Pyxis to bring in 96 kHz/24-bit AES EBU digital audio directly from the digital console without any conversion. “We can even pull the NetMax interface up on a Midas console display,” DiCato adds. “So the EV gear works seamlessly with the other products we use, and we had no issue at all with interfacing or compatibility. It was just great to have everything work so well right out of the box.”