Cherry Hills Community Church (CHCC) has made a significant investment in Lectrosonics Digital and Digital Hybrid Wireless technology, prompted by the FCC’s new 600 MHz band wireless rules to upgrade its facilities with a fully networkable system.
The new equipment, including dozens of channels of Venue2 receivers, SSM micro bodypack transmitters, 24 LT bodypack transmitters, 32 HHa handheld transmitters and 14 channels of Duet IEM systems, has been integrated into four locations at CHCC’s South Denver campus.
Cherry Hills Community Church, an Evangelical Presbyterian congregation, has expanded over recent years, ranking at the end of 2014 as the number one fastest-growing among 27,000 churches surveyed nationwide by Outreach Magazine. The megachurch’s quarter-mile-wide campus, less than 15 miles south of the city of Denver, encompasses a 225,000-square-foot main building plus a separate chapel for special events such as weddings and memorials. The church holds three contemporary services each weekend.
“We’ve been on the update path since I started a few years ago,” says the church’s audio director, Ben Edison. “We updated the sound system to L-Acoustics Kara speakers. We upgraded our Digico consoles to Stealth Core and upgraded our I/O system to SD-Racks. And now we’ve flipped all our wireless gear to Lectrosonics.”
With the production facilities across the campus already networked, Edison was determined to integrate digital wireless microphone and IEM systems.
“The number one driving force was the Duet in-ear monitoring system. We’ve been on in-ears for a couple of years, with no wedges on stage. We do feature a choir once every other week, and we have wedges in the ceiling for the choir, but the band is all on in-ears,” he says.
“We knew that if we were going to pull the trigger on new equipment then we really wanted it to be digital,” he continues. “You get one chance in 10 years to do a big update in a church, so we wanted to make sure that we adopted the technology now.”
After evaluating various options on the market, Edison and his team replaced the church’s previously installed wireless systems with Venue 2 receivers at four campus locations, Duet M2T dual-channel IEM transmitters and M2R IEM receiver packs in two of those rooms. “We put in 21 channels of Venue 2 and 10 channels of Duet into the 3,500-seat worship center. The chapel, which seats 350, got 10 channels of Venue 2, the 600-capacity atrium got 10 channels and the youth group room got 12 channels, with 10 Duet in-ears,” says Edison.
Three DNT16i analog-to-Dante input converter boxes enable integration of the wireless microphones with the worship center’s installed media network. “We have networking built in across the quarter-mile campus for when we do multiple rooms for special events like Christmas. I can patch into any room with production. But mostly the Dante network is local to the worship center. We run Ableton tracks and all video on the network, and now we’re pushing our Venue 2 receivers over Dante as well,” he says.
Making the jump to Lectrosonics has been a cost-saver, adds Edison. “We’ve been able to save quite a pretty penny going with Dante instead of having to add analog inputs into the DiGiCo SD-Racks.”
Campus-wide, the new Venue 2 receivers are paired with a variety of Lectrosonics bodypack transmitters. CHCC’s total complement includes 24 LT bodypack transmitters and 32 HHa handheld transmitters. The HHa handhelds are fitted either with Shure KSM9 capsules or, says Edison, “My favorite, the DPA d:facto.”
The new package of Lectrosonics gear also includes a single WM watertight bodypack transmitter. “We haven’t used it yet, but we do outdoor events in the summer, mainly baptisms, so we’re going to use it in a baptism tub. Plus, it’s a utility piece for anyone doing anything in the kid’s room or needs a device they can get wet. I’m excited to use it,” he says. An SSM super small micro beltpack transmitter is also available for situations where a larger device is too bulky.
The replacement of the previous wireless microphone and IEM systems was initially triggered by the imminent loss of access to the 600 MHz band, Edison reports. “We have two cell towers on our building, and one of them is T-Mobile, which owns the 600 MHz band, so we had to make sure and get out of those frequencies early.”
But the principle motivation came with the discovery of the Lectrosonics Duet 2 digital IEM system, he says. “That was the big tipping point and made us look into Lectrosonics a lot more. After doing a lot of demos and some listening tests we decided that we were definitely going to go Lectro.”