Like many houses of worship, steady growth at Hope Presbyterian Church in this Memphis suburb has been the underlying factor in construction decisions culminating in the recent addition of 5,000 more seats. The results of the addition of an entirely new structure housing supplemental sanctuary space, the expansion draws upon 18 channels of Shure UHF-R® wireless to meet the equally increasing audio needs of a congregation that regularly assembles to hear major touring artists, experience full-scale holiday pageants, and turn out its own video productions.
Kihei, Hawaii, may be a long way from the mainland, but that didn't stop Jim McCandliss of Maui-based Sound Investment Enterprises, Inc. from accepting the assignment to design and implement a new sonic blueprint for Hope Presbyterian's new sanctuary. Faced with several other wireless systems already in use in multiple locations all over the church's sprawling campus, when McCandliss sat down to coordinate a wireless plan that would meet the needs of current demands, he discovered a fairly saturated RF environment.
"It's a wireless world at the church," he states matter-of-factly back at his island outpost, the project having been completed late last year just in time for holiday services. "They have eight wireless in-ear monitoring systems in use simultaneously, 10 to 15 radios used by a sizable team of parking attendants, wireless intercom for video operators, and a wide variety of legacy systems that are still functioning just fine and in use."
A Shure dealer since 1977, McCandliss turned to UHF-R wireless both to tame the potentially harmful RF issues at hand and provide him with the sonic quality he needed to enhance the performance of sophisticated planar technology-based loudspeaker systems he brought to the installation.
"I've had a long history with Shure," he says, noting that the company's wireless has always occupied a preeminent place in his designs. "UHF-R is rock-solid and reliable, but what really sold it for us in this application were the KSM9 handheld transmitters we selected for use with the systems. The mic was perfect for use with our planar speakers--together they were a really nice complement. Every nuance and minute detail that the mic captures is heard through the speakers."
As an aid to cutting through the miasma of RF enshrouding the new sanctuary, McCandliss called upon the help of Shure engineers, who conducted some research and recommended frequencies of operation for the UHF-R systems.
"As with many projects, we were crunched for time on this one," McCandliss relates. "Using the recommended parameters given to us by Shure, we simply used each UHF-R receiver's scan function to choose the best channels of operation. We locked-in to those settings--they proved to be perfect, and the transmitters were automatically synched at the same time. The whole process took less than a second for each receiver."
The inherent time-saving nature of setup was vital to McCandliss, as there was no time given to him for a trial shakedown period before handing the keys of the system over to church FOH engineer Willie Pevear.
"The break-in period for the entire audio system took place during actual services," he adds. "We went from completion of the system four days before Christmas to doing multiple Christmas Eve services, which are among the most elaborate events on the church's annual calendar. Time was of the essence, as they say, and without UHF-R things would have been even more difficult. Since the system's debut, it has been exceeding expectations. With a full summer of concerts coming up, the church feels it's really hitting stride and stretching out with a new amount of flexibility and capabilities it never had before."