When First Baptist Church of Eugene moved into its new facility in the Oregon city last year, the church found itself in the midst of a radio frequency jungle. Surrounded by radio and television towers, high-tech industrial warehouses and a major interstate choked with cell-phone–equipped cars, the church was facing a major obstacle to implementing fuller use of wireless sound in its services and other church functions.
“The bad news was they were in the middle of a very challenging RF environment,” says Jeff Weinkauf, general manager of Anderson Group International (AGI Inc.), the systems integrator the church hired to design an A/V solution for the new facility. “It was a difficult spot to go with a more complete wireless microphone solution. For example, another church in the same area ended up having to use isolation transformers on every input and output on its audio system due to interference issues.”
Weinkauf found a wireless microphone package from Sennheiser. The facility previously had some Sennheiser Evolution wireless systems and number of Neumann KMS105 handheld wired mics.
“The church had some of the very first KMS105s on the market, and they planned on using them in the new facility,” Weinkauf says. “Yet they were planning to hold more complex back-to-back services with very little time in-between, so they needed a fail-safe, broadcast-quality, wireless-based solution to keep the stage easy to reconfigure, but one that would retain the quality they had enjoyed with the KMS handhelds.”
Weinkauf’s design called for six channels of wireless, employing a mix of Sennheiser 3000 Series receivers and 5000 Series transmitters. All six channels utilize Sennheiser EM3032 receivers, with five of the six channels paired with SKM5000 handheld transmitters equipped with Neumann KK105-S microphone capsules. The sixth channel is a Sennheiser SK-50 transmitter with a Sennheiser MKE-2 lavalier mic, which is used by the pastor. The system utilizes two A2003-UHF wideband passive directional antennae and a Sennheiser SAS108 selective antenna splitter.
“The Sennheiser 3000 and 5000 Series equipment works incredibly well in this difficult RF environment,” Weinkauf says. “Sennheiser has built their wireless reliability reputation on handling challenging environments like this one. First Baptist has had zero dropouts since they began using the system.“
“I was a little doubtful at first about the system’s ability to overcome the RF challenges, but it has turned out to be a real lifesaver for us,” says Steve Maricle, the church’s minister of music and worship. “We still use wired mics for vocal chorus work and other applications, but there are an untold number of applications where the stage is now a lot cleaner with fewer lines going all over the place. It’s given us tremendous freedom and the option of not plugging and unplugging mics between services.”