Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette, Colo. has been ranked among the largest churches in the U.S. for the last several years, attracting an average weekly attendance of about 20,000 people to multiple weekend services at its three Denver area campuses. The non-denominational evangelical church upgraded the wireless microphone systems at its main campus in Lafayette at the start of the year, expanding its Lectrosonics Digital Hybrid Wireless equipment list with the addition of 12 channels of Venue2 receivers paired with HH handheld and LT belt pack transmitters.
“I’ve always respected Lectrosonics for its ruggedness and for its rock-solid reliability,” says the church’s audio director, Bryce Boynton, who first mixed church audio while in his teens. Bryce has been active mixing for churches ever since as a freelance mix engineer and consultant. He graduated from the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences and holds a degree in piano performance from Colorado State University. He has also held seasonal positions with the Aspen Music Festival and School, and has worked for various microphone manufacturers before taking a full time role at Flatirons.
In addition to the main 162,000-square-foot campus in Lafayette, the church has a second campus in Golden, and also holds a Sunday service at downtown Denver’s historic Paramount Theatre. In the newly expanded wireless system at the 4,000-seat auditorium in Lafayette, says Boynton, “We have two new six-channel Venue 2 frames fitted with 12 channels of VRT2 IQ dynamic tracking filter modules. We also have an original Venue, because we bought our first system over a year ago, so we now have three Venue receivers. We also now have six handhelds—one HHa, the new model, and five HHs—and we have six LT belt packs.”
Boynton did his due diligence before choosing Lectrosonics. There were good alternatives available from other manufacturers, at almost the same cost, he says. “We had to prioritize what factors were most important for our needs and workflow. We just want really rock-solid wireless with the highest sound quality. There are other fantastic feature sets that some other systems provide, (including real time frequency agility, digital outputs, charging stations, etc.). But at the end of the day, sound quality and durability is unparalleled with Lectrosonics, and these were the two “need to haves” with our system.”
Our Lectrosonics HH transmitters are often paired with DPA Microphones capsules. “The HH handhelds all have the d:facto Vocal Microphone capsule—it sounds so good. The clarity, lack of proximity effect, and smooth off axis frequency response that these capsules provide are exceptional, and the transparency that the HH transmitter maintains in the signal integrity is first class. Our LT belt packs have a combination of DPA d:vote™ 4099 Instrument Microphones and the d:fine™ 66 Headset Microphones, or instrument cables, active or passive cables, right-angled or straight cables—a combination of everything,” he says. Versatility is key. One feature of the LT beltpack that Boynton emphasizes is the ability to switch the pack between instrument or microphone mode. In instrument mode, the transmitter presents a 1 megaohm impedance to an instrument input with a piezo type pickup. This improves the sound quality significantly and gives the same effect as plugging straight into a high quality DI.
Boynton didn’t purchase the Venue 2 receivers specifically for the wide tuning range, but the capability has certainly turned out to be very useful, he says. “Lafayette, which is east of Boulder, isn’t a major metro area with packed airspace. “I’m not trying to regularly tune 40+ frequencies, although we did just do that for Easter services where we brought in additional rental equipment. The point is that the wide tuning bandwidth of the newer system, bands A, B and C has proven to be really helpful. It was nice at Easter, when we did have 40 channels, to coordinate the Lectro channels last, because they have the widest tuning range and most flexibility. I don’t need for them to change frequencies in real-time, I just need them to be flexible.” For that event, especially, he adds, “The monitoring features in the latest version of Lectro’s Wireless Designer software are really helpful.”
Flatiron’s worship services present one of two teaching pastors plus the church’s contemporary worship band of around 12 people weekly. For peak services, such as Easter, that band may grow up to 20-plus musicians. With so many presenters and performers involved, in addition to the high-tech audio systems that he must manage in the auditorium, Boynton is grateful for the no-nonsense operation of the Lectrosonics equipment. “I have a lot of checklist systems, and a lot that changes on the stage from week to week. It’s never the same thing twice.” One thing that is also particularly nice is the ability of many transmitters to utilize the “talkback feature”. This is unique to Lectrosonics. It is so great to use the talkback button on the handheld transmitters to feed exclusively back to the band members in ears. Having one microphone to be able to sing to the house and musical direct the band saves time and keeps the stage clean.
In choosing a wireless system, the longevity of the manufacturer was also an important consideration for this purchase, according to Boynton. “This stuff has to last a long time. Lectrosonics is a stable company, and the product doesn’t become obsolete quickly; it has a great lifespan. I appreciate that, and that was also a factor worth considering. Quality wireless does not come without a significant cost.”
That said, he adds, “The Lectro stuff won out just because it sounds the best, and it’s the most rugged. We are extremely happy with the quality that this system provides and are constantly finding new and creative ways to utilize wireless technology.”
Visit Lectronics at www.lectrosonics.com/US/.