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July 2013 New Options for Lecterns and Sound Products for Your House of Worship
By: Don Roth

More than any other presentation setting, religious houses of worship require furniture and equipment that complement the tone of the message being delivered. When all eyes are turned toward the pulpit, the setting requires a lectern that evokes dignity, elegance and permanence, while unobtrusively accommodating sound equipment, reading space, storage, and other necessities.

Sound systems, for their part, must be selected to adequately project sound given the logistics of room and congregation size. With a multitude of options available, church administrators should seek advice from a company that understands the connections between attractive lecterns and practical sound equipment to deliver the clearest message possible.

Sanctuary lecterns are available today in a wide selection of acrylics, hardwoods, and other materials, with styles to fit both traditional and contemporary settings.

One of the first choices to be made in selecting a lectern involves the main material elements that will be visually appealing in a specific setting. Lecterns can be found in clear or smoked acrylic, elegant wood veneers, solid wood, or combinations. Each material offers its own particular advantages and stylistic tone that should complement the overall sanctuary theme.

Acrylic lecterns offer a broad range of options, from slender pedestal styles to modern combinations of Lucite, metal, and wood veneer. Acrylic lecterns lend a quality of clarity and lightness to worship spaces, allowing the person speaking to be seen without obstruction.

Top-quality acrylic lecterns include panels cut from thick sheets of plexiglass for long-term durability. Adding a smoke finish to the acrylic creates a more substantial appearance while still presenting a contemporary, translucent style. Acrylic lecterns also offer the possibility of customization with logos or other artwork to enhance the beauty of the lectern and provide unity to the overall room décor.

For a more solid appearance in a contemporary setting, consider the many options in modern veneer styles. Lecterns with veneer panels deliver the elegant wood patterns that blend well with any décor, but offer that impact in a lightweight product that blends well with other materials.

The solid front panel also serves to conceal items stored on internal shelves, such as water, reading materials, and sound equipment. The best manufacturers offer a multitude of mix-and-match options with veneers, metal trims, and designs, so that each customer can create the perfect lectern to match their sanctuary space.

Whatever material is selected, sanctuary lecterns should include some practical features for maximum utility and efficiency. Look for wide table areas in any pulpit lectern, sufficient to hold two Bibles along with other speaker's materials.

Additionally, lecterns can be configured to house portable sound systems, with wireless connectivity to powered built-in speakers that eliminates the need for messy cords. Sound systems should include connections for Apple devices and other external media to allow for music to be cued directly from the lectern and amplified through the sound system.

Wireless technology also makes lectern mics into house mics, expanding the reach of the speaker's voice throughout the sanctuary.  This creates added value by plugging a lectern cable through the internal PA system.

Lecterns are also available to serve in other building areas, including narthexes, fellowship halls, and conference rooms. For these less formal areas, look for products that combine attractiveness with practicality in features for mobility, sound amplification, and connectivity with external media devices.

Frequently, elegant lecterns can double as high-tech media presentation workstations.

Some lecterns are even designed to be weatherproof for use in outdoor services and events.  Products for outside use should feature high-durability polyurethane construction, which offers the advantage of water resistance and easy portability. Rolling casters also improve the mobility of indoor/outdoor equipment; be sure to look for high-grade, locking casters that will last as long as the lectern itself.

Choices about presentation lecterns necessarily raise questions about sound amplification, an area where new technologies offer an ever-growing range of options. For indoor settings, investigate compact speaker systems that deliver perfect sound quality with a minimum of space and obtrusiveness.

As mentioned earlier, wireless microphones and PA systems are also necessary parts of overall sound plans, whether inside the sanctuary, in a meeting room, or outdoors for retreats or outreach events.  Whether presenters prefer to use handheld or lapel mics, choose wireless equipment that utilizes at lease a 16-ch UHF frequency range to optimize sound clarity and avoid interference. Boundary mics can be attached to hard surfaces within the room to enhance amplification.

PA wireless options range from waistband mini-PAs for small audiences to powerful megaphones that project sound up to a mile. Your sound equipment specialist should be able to deliver specific advice on how to select the appropriate sound products for any setting, and help match lectern choices to sound equipment requirements.

A sanctuary's lectern is a vital centerpiece in the overall presentation of its speaker's message. Fortunately, the many new options available for lecterns and supporting sound equipment make it possible to create a personalized, elegant, and practical solution to serve any setting.

To choose products that will work together seamlessly, consult with a manufacturer or dealer that understands both the stylistic imperatives and the technical requirements of your church. A comprehensive plan will deliver unified, effective messaging in worship spaces and beyond.

Don Roth is CEO of AmpliVox Sound Systems in Northbrook, Illinois. AmpliVox designs, manufactures, and sells a wide selection of portable sound systems, presentation lecterns, and AV accessories to meet the sound coverage and style requirements of any setting, www.ampli.com.










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