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New Church, New AV Gear, Part 1

Mar 2, 2011 12:56 PM, with Bennett Liles

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And of course as you pointed out, you had a major advantage on this one since it was new construction rather than having to refit and redo an existing architecture and so forth. And not having to tear out any of the old gear and wiring. That’s always a great advantage.
A huge advantage—yes, I’ve done this for 20-some years for myself and then for other people down south and you get into the remodels and remodels are…they’re a little more hairy. I did a little remodel a few years ago on a big Lutheran church up here and it wasn’t pretty because nothing where you thought it would be and your hour estimate to do the job was more than double by the time you’re all done so you pretty much lost your shirt—they’re happy but you’re not. But a new building, you can lay it all out and since we’d put a digital backbone into the thing with a bunch of Cat-5 wire and that simplified things eventually. When we went into this building, since it’s brand new, I said, “Well let’s separate all the power to all the lighting,” so that we don’t have to have that lovely hum problem with the ground loop and then we still put in ISO operated transformers for all the audio and the video system. So yeah you’re right, doing a remodel is much more work and problematic than doing a new if you can specify what you really want. [Timestamp: 5:05]

And a big part of this project was a wireless mic system that you put in. I believe you went with a Shure ULX wireless mic system for that. Of course a lot of churches have had to make the wireless upgrade for the 700MHz spectrum changes anyway.
Anything you get now is already going to be compliant so that wasn’t even an issue because they didn’t have any wireless mics before to speak of. So we didn’t try to bring anything old from the old church over and tried to re-use it. We just went brand-new and these are all the Shure ULX series and we coupled of them with six of the Countrymen in-ear pieces and then one hand held mic for the pastor if he wants to use that route as well. [Timestamp: 5:41]

Oh and that’s great if the pastor’s are into using head-worn mics because that really makes things easier on audio people.
Oh it does. It’s immense and then you couple that with a band who all has in-ear monitors for the Aviom system—you don’t have that lovely feedback issue. And so you could really crank up the volume obviously. You can crank up the gain without having tons of feedback. It’s…I’m amazed that more churches don’t do it frankly. [Timestamp: 6:02]

Well the churches are dealing, for the most part, with volunteer tech people. Of course the big churches can have full time pro people but most of them are trying to put things together with crew people who may be there one week and maybe not the next. And when the 700MHz changes came down I think a lot of the smaller and mid-sized churches probably got caught a little flat-footed on that.
Yeah, oh yeah. I’ve had quite a few, especially the smaller ones around locally here that call you up and they can’t figure out why that it worked great for two or three years and now all of a sudden they’re having these cutting in and out issues on Sunday morning and so you go through the whole education. I think that a lot of them were forewarned. It’s funny, I’ve got a number of friends who they get a lot of…well a lot of audio magazines and what not and they’re really into it yet then their own churches never upgraded because they never saw any problem initially for the first month or two after the rules changed and then when they finally started changing the cell towers over and using that frequency all of sudden then they were caught right flat footed. [Timestamp: 7:03]

Yeah all it takes is some tangible evidence of things going wrong but the real fun’s going to be happening when all of these portable broadband devices come online and those bands and we’ll just see what happens.
Yeah, I think you’re right.

So you’ve got a young crowd and a young pastor using head-worn mics. That’s a lot of wireless gear. What kind of antenna arrangement did you install for that wireless mic system?
Well we used the Shure antenna distribution system and they’re just the half-wave antennas. [Timestamp: 7:33]

Ahh, half-wave, yeah.
But we used…we used the antenna distribution system—there’s two of those plus we put into a passive antennas gain system so you can run both of those antenna distributions into just one block into one antenna. So I only have two antennas for seven units and I had worked it out with the church tech people and they…this is what they recommended and it works great. [Timestamp: 7:54]

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