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Phil Reigh Sound Builds a “Convertible” AV System for Hope Eternal United Methodist Church

Phil Reigh Sound Builds a “Convertible” AV System for Hope Eternal United Methodist Church

Jun 1, 2006 8:00 AM

Reigh and his team had to design a new system that would work both for the existing church site—and for a larger modern facility that was barely on the drawing boards.

Originally built in 1903 and still occupying the same historic structure, Hope Eternal United Methodist Church is located in Newport, Pa., a somewhat isolated area west of Harrisburg.

The church has a growing congregation and the corresponding need to update and expand its technical capabilities far beyond what AV integrator Phil Reigh describes as a “6-channel powered mixer unit with two small stereo-type speakers on swivel wall brackets and a portable-type screen raised up on chairs in a corner of the sanctuary.”

When the church contracted Phil Reigh Sound for the upgrade, the challenge it presented to Reigh and his team was the need to design a new system that would work both for the existing site—which is more than 100 years old and has a fairly short and wide worship area—and for a larger modern facility for the future that was barely on the drawing boards.

As Reigh describes the project, “They planned on a new building in the near future, and the Pastor, Reverend Barton Schaefer, was well aware that the sound and video systems are the first things to get cut during construction budgeting, and ‘we’ll add it later’ often turns into ‘here’s all we can afford to do for now.’ Everything was chosen with any eye to removing the complete system from the existing building and installing all of it into the new building when that project comes to fruition, without additions or replacements. It had to be as comprehensive as possible, yet sound good and function well in both locations.”

To design a system that would measure up these challenging criteria, Reigh met with the church members who were assigned to run the sound and computer control systems. He also had extensive conversations with the pastor and the church’s music ministry to “determine what they wanted to do for now, with an eye to the future plans. None of the equipment selected would become obsolete by the plans for the new facilities.”

Unfortunately, the existing site presented problems from the outset. As Reigh summarizes it, “Upon surveying the facility, we determined the church electrical system did not have enough spare circuit breakers to accommodate the new systems. So we had to install a small sub panel with five dedicated circuits to accommodate the sound system, computer systems, and the data projectors.

For the audio system, which was intended to reproduce prerecorded material and voice only, Reigh chose Martin Audio Blackline F12 loudspeakers because, as he describes it, “We’ve consistently had good results with them, especially in these types of installations. The new AQ Series AQ8 was added for center fill because we needed extra coverage.

“The existing church sanctuary is wider than it is deep, about 47’x65’. So we were basically dealing with a rectangle—with the pulpit, platform, and music presentation along a side wall. So we didn’t have an excessively long throw to deal with here. We put one F12 on either side, both custom-ordered in white, and added the AQ.

“I like the new AQ series, and we have it situated fairly low to overcome some soft spots in the coverage, plus we have some time delay on it as well. The walls in the old church are hard surfaces with some carpeting on the floor and drapes at the back of the church to help with acoustics. Overall, we were looking for smooth balanced coverage with plenty of articulation, both for the existing church and the one that wasn’t even on the drawing boards yet! And the client was adamant about not having to make any major additions to the system later on.”

The rest of the system included a Soundcraft Series 2 32-channel mixing console, Carver amps, an Ashly Protea 4.24 GS system EQ and GQX-3102 monitor EQ; a dbx 166XL monitor comp/limiter and Middle Atlantic racks. The praise team uses four Martin F12 speakers on two discrete monitor mixes and Shure Beta 58 mics.

On the video side, the new computer-controlled system consisted of two Da-Lite Fastfold screens (7′ 6″x10′), two Mitsubishi 4000 lumen projectors and an Extron VGA distribution unit. The video system is used to display graphic materials accompanying the sermons, as well as extracts from the sermon and lyrics to various hymns.

According to Reigh, the new system has had a profound impact on the existing sanctuary and should cover the church’s needs in the future. Rev. Schaefer was even more effusive in his comments: “It is a sincere pleasure to thank you and to show appreciation for the excellent job you have done for us at Hope Eternal Church. When I began talking with you about our audiovisual project, I was immediately struck with the knowledge and experience which you have brought to these discussions. You worked to help us find solutions to our unique needs.”

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