Rio Rancho, NM – December 2006… For the roughly 7,000 member congregation of Custer Road United Methodist Church (CRUMC) in this suburb of Dallas, the recent acquisition of a brand new Schantz pipe organ was the fulfillment of a long-term goal aimed at bolstering the church’s worship and musical activities. Along with changes to the sanctuary’s physical plant mandated by the installation of the organ, the Church determined that an upgraded sound reinforcement system was necessary in order to provide greater intelligibility of the spoken word and to enhance congregational singing. While the sanctuary received an extensive overhaul, one thing did not change: the amount of available rack space for equipment. To solve this dilemma, they turned to Venue wireless systems from Lectrosonics.
Under the guidance of Dr. Ronald D. Henderson, Custer Road United Methodist Church offers three Sunday morning services, which are video recorded and distributed to those who are unable to attend. “Aside from providing proper sound reinforcement for those in attendance,” said Bob Carter, CRUMC’s Director of Audio/Visual Services, “it is absolutely essential to capture clean audio signals for the videotapes we distribute. Without being able to understand the message of the service, the tapes would hold little value for their viewers. This was yet another reason for improving our audio capabilities.”
The ambitious $3.1M facility upgrade commenced in February 2005 with the installation of the organ, and was then followed by the newly installed A/V system, which was completed in June 2006. Dallas-based Acoustic Dimensions penned the facility blueprint while SPL Integrated Solutions handled the installation
The facility overhaul involved removing the existing acoustical treatments as well as the carpeting in an effort to create a large, much more “live” environment for the organ and congregational singing. While this change certainly accomplished its goal, it also created a seven second delay, which was compensated for by means of DSP and steerable line array technology. Twin BSS Soundweb 9088ii DSP processors, used in conjunction with EAW KF730 compact line array elements and SB730 sub bass enclosures constitute the main house sound system. An Allen & Heath 40-channel GL3300 console resides at front of house.
While wired microphones are used, Custer Road United Methodist Church has always had a preference for wireless technology. “We’ve been increasing our wireless capability in recent years,” states Carter, “yet we had no place to go with the equipment. We previously had three receivers and a powered antenna distribution module occupying two rack spaces, with the rest of the wireless systems sitting on a ledge the console. We had no more available rack space, and were actively looking for a solution. We found it with the Venue wireless system from Lectrosonics.”
Carter reports having spotted the Lectrosonics Venue system at an NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show and being very impressed with their space efficient design. “I was well aware of Lectrosonics’ reputation for quality,” says Carter, “so when I realized we could fit twelve channels into two rack spaces, our lack of space issue was suddenly resolved. Since we typically use anywhere from 3 – 9 channels during a service, I found myself with some extra ‘headroom’ for those special events.”
Presently, Custer Road United Methodist Church has eight belt pack transmitters (used in conjunction with assorted lavalier and headworn mics) and four handheld wireless microphones. The clergy are the most regular users of the wireless equipment, with guest speakers and the occasional vocalist getting in on the action as well. Additionally, the LecNet2 software’s VR panel enables Carter and his associates to easily monitor the equipment. “Lectrosonics’ VRpanel software (part of LecNet2) is the icing on the cake,” notes Carter. “With the computer interface, we can check for battery level, signal strength, and a host of other parameters at any time, and know exactly where we stand.”
Reflecting on the Church’s new audio system and the impact of the wireless equipment, Carter summarized, “The new sound system has been a huge step forward for our church, and by having as much wireless capability as we do, we’ve eliminated cable tangles for the clergy and others up front. Everyone loves the freedom of movement the Lectrosonics wireless equipment provides, and not once have we experienced any dropouts. Signal strength is excellent, and performance has been extremely reliable. Twelve channels of excellent sound quality and robust performance—all in two rack spaces. What more could you ask for?”
About the Lectrosonics Venue Wireless System and SM Series Super-Miniature Transmitter
The Venue Receiver system is a modular UHF design that operates with Digital Hybrid Wireless™ transmitters, and a variety of analog transmitters. It consists of a Venue Receiver Master (VRM) and one to six plug-in receiver modules. The SM Series transmitter family brings Digital Hybrid Wireless™ technology to miniature transmitters in several different configurations for essentially any wireless microphone application with a lavalier microphone. The tiny size of the single battery SM model makes concealment easy, yet with a full 100 mW output, it does not sacrifice performance.
Well respected within the film, broadcast, and theater technical communities since 1971, Lectrosonics wireless microphone systems and audio processing products are used daily in mission-critical applications by audio engineers familiar with the company's dedication to quality, customer service, and innovation. Lectrosonics is a US manufacturer based in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.