Lake Pointe, a Southern Baptist church in Rockwall, Texas, has an active congregation of approximately 10,000 on four campuses spread across some 30 square miles. The church ranks as one of the largest in the United States. Following the Federal Communication Commision’s (FCC's) ruling on the 700 MHz bandwidth issue a few years ago, Lake Pointe turned to manufacturer Sennheiser for advice on how to restructure its wireless systems. Now, the church reports regularly using more than 150 channels of Sennheiser wireless between its four campuses.
Every weekend, the staff at Lake Pointe works hard to ensure its programming and audio quality is consistent across all the campuses. Working alongside a staff of 14 full-time personnel and approximately 350 volunteers, 85 serve each weekend, Technical Audio Systems Director Jason Cole is responsible for making sure the “Lake Pointe DNA” is present in all of the church’s performances and live presentations. He relies on an ever-growing collection of Sennheiser G3 wireless systems and microphones to make that happen.
“Audio is such a critical part of what we do,” Cole observes. “I spend a lot of time with our campus producers so they know exactly how things are supposed to sound, and how things need to be presented from an audio perspective. Again, we are looking for sonic consistency across all our campusesand having all Sennheiser everywhere makes that process so much easier because we know what each mic is going to sound like.”
Lake Pointe’s main auditorium, which seats approximately 4,500 people, is outfitted with 10 Sennheiser EM 3732 receivers, coupled with SKM 5200 transmitters and Neumann KK 105 supercardioid capsules. Additionally, it employs 10 channels of Sennheiser wireless for its in-ear monitors (IEMs). “All of our vocalistsparticularly our worship leadersare blown away by how superior the Sennheiser mics sound, especially in their IEMs,” Cole says.
According to Cole, the RF environment in the greater Dallas region can be volatile and difficult to manage. “The RF landscape changes so much in this area that we really have to monitor it on a regular basis,” he says. “One of the great things about the Sennheiser wireless is the amount of bandwidth that we get. We have so many options when it comes to channel selections.”
With his Sennheiser G3 systems, setting up and sync'ing frequencies on the fly is a fast and simple process. “We do the scans right off the 3732 unit,” Cole says. “Having the ability to do the scans, pick the frequencies, and very quickly sync them to the beltpacks or handheld mics is a beautiful thing. This is a big deal because every Sunday morning we have to play this RF game.”
At front of house, Lake Pointe relies on Sennheiser’s WSM software to monitor changes in wireless system performance. “Even though our wireless receivers are located backstage, we have them networked together so our FOH engineer can monitor all performances from FOH and troubleshoot as required,” says Cole. “Every now and then, something will change in the RF that has nothing to do with us, and we have to adapt. With the WSM software, we can see all the RF signals going to all the receivers and transmitters all the time. We can also monitor battery life or see if a performer has the ‘mute’ switch on. It allows us to react very quickly before issues come up, so the quality of our performances won’t be affected.”
Now that spring is approaching, all eyes at Lake Pointe are on the upcoming Easter services, which are bound to draw approximately 22,000 congregants. “For Easter, we will be maxing out all our Sennheiser wireless gear,” Cole says. “On any other given weekend, we will usually have two or three vocalists on a stage; but for Easter, we will usually have 8-10 people singing at every campus, and all at the same time. With Sennheiser, we ... have the confidence that there will be no technical issues and that everyone attending will have a high quality audio experience.”