OLD LYME, Conn. â€“ August 23, 2010 â€“ Located in a suburb of Huntsville, AL, Asbury United Methodist Church is situated amongst a rapidly growing community comprised predominantly of aerospace and defense contractors. The church, which ranks as one of the 25 largest United Methodist Churches in the nation, not only faces the challenges of accommodating a growing congregation, but is also faced with a relatively crowded wireless frequency spectrum, given the high-tech environment in which it is situated. Audio specialist Sennheiser helped facilitate expansion of Asbury's wireless infrastructure, while ensuring crisp and reliable communications throughout its entire campus.
With a congregation of approximately 3,500, Asbury United Methodist Church conducts two services simultaneously in dedicated sanctuaries; its traditional service is held in the main sanctuary, while its contemporary services are held in a brand-new, multi-purpose 1,500-seat auditorium. In addition to its
main worship services, Asbury also hosts sacred services, baptisms and many other activities throughout the facility, all of which require clear, intelligible audio. "The most important thing is our message. Just about everything we do involves audio, and we need to make sure it can be heard everywhere," comments Asbury's technical director, Beau Miles.
Asbury called on Ruston, LA-based American Audio, Inc. to coordinate the wireless integration and chose Sennheiser for both the wireless antenna infrastructure as well as a range of microphones and wireless personal monitors. "For me, it was a no brainer," Miles recalls. "Sennheiser has conquered the frequency spectrum issue and is way ahead of the game compared to competitors."
Despite being in immediate range of potential frequency interference from local defense and aerospace contracting facilities, Miles says the wireless coordination was the easiest he's ever been a part of. "After the units were racked up, we dialed the frequencies in, turned the transmitters on and put them in a box together in the middle of the stage and tested them. Then we walked through the craziest parts of the building where we never thought we would be able to use wireless mics, and everything worked flawlessly. We were amazed."
Asbury Church also looked to Sennheiser for its entire range of wireless mics, which are used for spoken word during services as well as for musical talent. American Audio specified 11 ew 300 series lavalier style mics and five ew 365 G2 wireless mics. "For me, the most important thing in a microphone is whether or not it is producing a quality sound," observes Miles. "If the mic is not faithfully capturing everything that is happening on stage, I won't use it." Flexibility is also a key consideration for Miles. "I have many types of singers and voices: male, female, bass, soprano and everything in between. These mics have to work across all these applications."
Seamless Network Control
One of the things Asbury Church appreciates most is Sennheiser's Wireless Systems Manager (WSM), which enables the Asbury United Methodist Church production team to seamlessly monitor system parameters in real time via the network. This is particularly useful during the church's "drama" segments, says Miles: "We have a drama team where we are acting out scripture, and we always have to know the mics are going to work right. On the WSM system, I have transparency into the entire system can see if someone is muted, if the batteries are low or if the system is not receiving. That makes all the difference and makes me more confident in my job."
"All in all, we came out of the installation feeling confident and secure," Miles concludes. "Now we are working on more renovations on our campus and will eventually go to all Sennheiser, because the coordination with the white spaces, the customer service and most importantly because of the quality of the microphones."