The First United Methodist Church in Waxahachie, Texas has been a community staple since 1849. The church has seen many changes since it was first established but what has remained constant is how active the church and its members are in the community. The traditional worship format is embellished by a dynamic preaching style and a rich variety of musical program interwoven into the services.
The current building was built in the 1950s, and as you can imagine, there are always upgrades that need to be made to ensure the building stays up to date and the congregation is effectively served. With this in mind, the members of First United Methodist saw a need for their audio to be upgraded in the main sanctuary. With that, they called local integrator Featherston Media (www.featherstonmedia.com) . The existing system was a single speaker flown above the altar area. “Just one speaker that wasn’t meant to be a PA speaker for a room that holds 350 people,” notes project manager Ian Burnell of Waxahachie-based Featherston Media.
While attending the WFX worship facilities conference, Featherston had the opportunity to hear a small line array system from RCF. “We heard the HDL6-A, and were impressed by the sound,” says Burnell. An active dual six-inch, two-way line array cabinet, “We were able to design the system very easily without breaking the budget,” he says.
The installation called for six white HDL6-A mounted in a single center line array. The design allowed for Featherston to “provide even and lush coverage for the entire sanctuary.”
During the initial phase, “we also installed two HD10-A (active 10-inch, two-way cabinet) mounted to provide full coverage for the choir loft on the left and right side. The positioning allowed for the sound to cover the entire choir loft without an echo or the sound being overbearing.”
Being active, it required the implementation of power tied into the existing building infrastructure. While existing power positions were scarce, it was not difficult only needing to add four 20-amp circuits. With the RCF cabinets being active, it was actually a cost effective solution.
As total integration was planned in stages, and since the church would continue initially to work off of their older analog console, Featherston installed an Atlas BlueBridge matrix DSP in preparation for the eventual phase two upgrades.
The second phase replaced their console with a Yamaha TF3 with Dante interface card and TIO-1608D Stage Box.
“By installing the Dante card we have implemented a foundation for any and all future low voltage audio applications for the church,” comments Featherston. “The TIO-1608D Stage Box is a digital snake that provides input for microphones and instruments on stage.” Power redundancy is also implemented for fail safe operations.
Taking the next step, “We installed RF Combiners to provide a clear wireless microphone and wireless IEM signal, and replaced their existing choir microphones with four floor standing choir microphones. This was a huge request from the congregation as it alleviated the organ from being heard on the choir microphones. This gave them a sound that was clear, crisp and solid.”
Featherston continues, “The response was overwhelmingly positive. It was such a dramatic change for their congregation. They were able to really hear the pastor, choir and organ in such a clear way. From our perspective, it just proves that it doesn’t matter how traditional or progressive your church may be, the sound quality is so important. First United Methodist is a traditional church with a full choir and organ, and now they have a contemporary line array system that fits their space and provides them with the quality sound they expect.”