Today, churches are increasingly built with acoustics in mind, to address the acoustic challenges associated with larger and more complex structures featuring high angular ceilings, tall blank walls, large windows, decorative architectural features, and significant variations in size from one room to another. And, in addition to the challenges of the church structure, today’s religious organizations more frequently employ the use of electronic amplification, multimedia applications, large choral events, etc.
The Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit in Lincolnshire, IL, occupies a building constructed in 1977, and whose membership has evolved to include a range of youth and adult groups, and an Adult Choir, Youth Choir, and even a “Cherub Choir” for pre-school and first grade children. To upgrade the effectiveness of their sound system for these diverse needs, they looked to AmpliVox Sound Systems, Northbrook, IL.
AmpliVox set out to address the facility’s multiple acoustic and presentation challenges:
- Addressing the church building’s significant reverberation with a distributed, multi- speaker system that would provide effective sound coverage by creating a “zone of sound” for each speaker area. This approach would result in a more evenly distributed Sound Pressure Level (SPL), with less incidence of acoustic hot-spots and dead areas.
- Employing a multi-channel sound system, resulting in more control over individual sound sources – e.g., choir director, choir members, instrumental accompanists, recorded music, etc.
- Controlling the sound from a simple, central point of access. This meant having a designated individual be able to access all sound controls from the main sanctuary seating area, or moved as desired for different events and configurations. The best solution for this involved AmpliVox’s wireless, portable PA technology.
- As another advantage of wireless audio technology, the system could be centrally located, or moved as desired, with the unsightly appearance of wiring and equipment in the front of the sanctuary. Wireless microphones allow presenters and choral members to roam as necessary without encumbrance.
The heart of any audio project is a robust base PA system, and AmpliVox had one to offer the church in its SW925 Digital Audio Travel Partner Plus. This self-contained, portable unit provides 250 watts of power and has two built-in 6.5 inch high performance, high efficiency woofers and a dynamic compression tweeter. It has a built-in UHF 16 channel wireless receiver that can accommodate a wireless microphone plus a wired microphone – an advantage for applications such as a presenter at the front of the sanctuary, backed up by a choir on the side. The wireless mic can be handheld, lapel, headset, or over-the-year flesh tone. Wireless range is up to 300 feet. The unit also has a built-in media player that can accept inputs via SD card, USB slot, or via Bluetooth from a smartphone or other device. This makes it easy to play occasional recorded music as part of the service. The SW925 has a Voice Enhance feature to increase crispness and clarity of vocals, and also a Voice Priority feature that reduces the volume level of background music when necessary.
To help provide separate “zones of sound” for the different parts of the church, an AmpliVox S1297 Satellite Wireless Powered Dual Speaker was provided. This unit has its own 250 watt amp and receiver, and two built-in woofers and a tweeter similar to the main PA system. Both the SW925 and S1297 are mounted on sturdy, heavy-duty tripods that elevate the speakers yet avoid a sense of clutter; they also make it easy to move the PA system and satellite speaker to different locations depending on the type of event – regular church service or choral program.
Both the SW925 and S1297 have built in wheels and extendible handle, and can operate on AC power or rechargeable batteries. Portability is a big plus for occasional church picnics and other outdoor events.
To control the sound volume and tone for multiple system inputs and outputs, the church’s Symetrix Audio system has software that can be accessed via laptop computer or tablet device that can be located anywhere within the sanctuary or adjacent areas. This eliminates the need for a bulky, space-intensive engineering sound board.
As another benefit to visual openness and a welcome feel for the church’s sanctuary, AmpliVox provided an acrylic lectern to serve as the church’s pulpit. The lectern features a see-through appearance and rugged yet light-weight construction.
Reverend Timothy Lindstrom, pastor of the Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit, said AmpliVox’s multi-faceted approach to the church’s presentation needs has worked to perfection. “The AmpliVox technicians certainly understand the dynamics of creating good sound in a variety of environments. And with the new equipment in place, our message – and our congregants voices – have never sounded better.”
For more information, visit AmpliVox online at www.ampli.com.