Breakaway Ministries, a non-denominational weekly Bible study organization on the campus of Texas A&M University, has grown to where thousands of college students gather every Tuesday night. Houston, Texas sound contractor Puresound supplies a HARMAN’s JBL VERTEC® line array sound system for the weekly gatherings, which are more challenging than a usual house of worship gig for Puresound owner Wes Mathew and crew—they have to set up the entire system in an hour and break it down in an hour.
“It’s like setting up a portable mega-church,” said Mathew. “From one week to the next we could be in either Reed Arena or Kyle Field so we’re constantly on the move. The logistics of both locations give us just about an hour to set up the system, from pulling in the truck to handing the worship leader a live microphone. When the service ends we have an hour to break the system down.”
To facilitate such a speedy setup, Mathew and a special team of Breakaway volunteers rely heavily on JBL VERTEC VT4888ADP midsize and VT4887ADP compact powered line array elements, along with VT4881ADP powered subwoofers. Because they only have an hour, building rigging and flying speakers is impossible. The loudspeakers can be quickly and easily ground-stacked, thanks to their quick-release pins, end-mounted metal frames, front and rear hinge bars and other features that enable fast, stable setup.
Another major plus is the VERTEC built-in DrivePack™ amplifier module. “With the powered VERTEC loudspeakers it’s literally plug and play,” Mathew said. “It also makes it much easier to bring more or fewer speakers depending on the venue and the event—we can just add or subtract arrays as needed without having to deal with bringing extra amps or figuring out how many amps to leave behind.”
In Reed Arena, Puresound uses four VT4888ADP powered line array elements per side to cover the center section of the court or stadium, and six VT4887ADP powered line array elements per side to cover the sides of the facilities. Six VT4881 powered subwoofers and four JBL SRX728S subs placed along the ground by the portable platform stage handle the low end. Crown XTi4000 amplifiers power the subwoofers. At Kyle Field, Puresound uses a similar configuration with the arrays spaced apart every 25 yards.
“The VERTECs work well in a ground-stacked configuration in these applications because the height of the platform stages we put the line arrays on and the curved stacking configuration of the arrays place them in positions where they cover most of the seating really well and deliver clear, intelligible sound,” Mathew noted. “We don’t really need to fly any of the speakers.”
As Breakaway Ministries grows, Mathew expects the system to grow with them, and JBL VERTEC’s modular, powered design and Puresound’s “portable mega church” approach will help ease any growing pains.