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Fellowship Church Depends on Meyer Sound for Consistency Across Five Campuses
Under the dynamic leadership of pastor Ed Young, Jr., Texas's Fellowship Church has experienced exponential growth over the past five years, with typical weekly attendance surpassing the 20,000 mark. To accommodate growth while fostering a neighborhood church atmosphere, Fellowship expanded outward from its primary campus in Grapevine, Texas (adjacent to the Dallas-Fort Worth airport) to satellite campuses around the metro area: two in nearby suburban communities, and one in the Arts District in downtown Dallas.
Then, late in 2006, Young took a "leap of faith" by establishing a fourth satellite campus more than a thousand miles away in South Miami, Fla.
A bold move to be sure. Strong believers in the application of high technology to the challenge of "remote" worship, Fellowship is using a proven combination of powerful, high-definition digital projectors and a fine-tuned system of Meyer Sound self-powered loudspeakers to plug the new Florida campus into the same look, the same sound, and the same strikingly lifelike "virtual teaching" from him that continually fill the Texas satellite campuses.
The church's seasoned technical staff collaborated with performance engineering firm Clark ProMedia (Atlanta and Chicago) on implementing Fellowship Church's established, cutting-edge technology at the Miami campus on a blazingly fast-track schedule. So fast, in fact, that the system went online less than a week after it was ordered. "Basically, we got a call on Monday, and they wanted to have a service in Miami that following Sunday," recalls Houston Clark, president of Clark ProMedia (CPM).
To fill in for the first weeks, CPM arranged for AV rentals to cover the church's immediate needs, while the company's chief engineer, George Clark, flew to Miami and huddled with church media director Mike Walker and senior audio engineer Matt Wheeler. To maintain consistency with their other campuses, Walker and Wheeler relied on the same key technology suppliers they've been using: Christie Digital for image projection and, for audio, Meyer Sound loudspeakers.
"We first looked at the Meyer line arrays, but the shape of the room did not lend itself to that solution," comments Matt Wheeler, "so we decided on a combination of CQ-1s and UPJ-1Ps for our coverage. We knew that CQs would give us lots of flexibility in the future as we adapted to a fast-changing situation in Miami."
Miami is an admitted "temporary-permanent" system. With main loudspeakers sitting on Genie lifts (partly concealed by pipe-and-drape), the Miami system comprises, per side, a CQ-1 full-range wide coverage loudspeaker, a UPJ-1P compact VariO loudspeaker, and a 700-HP ultrahigh-power subwoofer. Also, "as an experiment," according to Wheeler, they hoisted one M1D-Sub ultracompact subwoofer over each CQ-1 to augment the mid-bass punch of the system.
The simplicity of the system is one of its strengths, according to Mike Walker. "This is a good example of a situation where you want to keep it simple, and just let the Meyer speakers do what they were designed to do. It works beautifully. We fine-tuned it in MAPP Online Pro (acoustical prediction software) and it's velvet smooth now."
The new Miami system is the ninth from Meyer Sound to be purchased by Fellowship Church. The church's first Meyer Sound systems, purchased several years ago, are still in use at auxiliary facilities on the Grapevine Campus. The Wedding Chapel system employs eight CQ-2 narrow coverage main loudspeakers, while the Apex youth facility has six CQ-2 cabinets supported by 10 smaller UltraSeries cabinets. Two multipurpose rooms each utilize systems of eight UltraSeries cabinets.
The first Fellowship Church worship center to employ Meyer Sound's curvilinear array technology was the Plano campus. To manage the acoustical difficulties in this former electronics warehouse, the Walker-Wheeler-Clark team devised a design based around main arrays of 11 M1D ultracompact curvilinear array loudspeakers each, with sub-bass from four 700-HP subwoofers and fill provided by two UPA-2P compact narrow coverage loudspeakers.
M1D arrays also serve as the primary system elements for a temporary system that shuttles in and out of a high school auditorium every week at Fellowship's Alliance site in Justin. In this case, the arrays contain five M1D cabinets and a pair of M1D-Subs per side, supported by matched pairs of 700-HP subs, UPJ-1P units, and UPM-1P ultracompact wide coverage loudspeakers.
Fellowship Church's flagship Meyer Sound system went into the 4,100-seat worship center at the Grapevine home campus only months after the Plano system was installed. A retrofit for an underperforming original installation of a different brand, the main loudspeakers at Grapevine are twin arrays of 13 MILO high-power curvilinear array loudspeakers each, supplemented by seven DF-4 dedicated downfill loudspeakers, two MSL-4 horn-loaded long-throw loudspeakers, and 23 UPJ-1P cabinets for frontfill and under-balcony delays. Bass is supplied by 10 700-HP subs.
The church's most recent Meyer Sound installation prior to the Miami system was inside a refurbished, low-ceilinged warehouse in Dallas's renascent Arts District. Here, acoustics and trim height dictated a distributed system comprising a pair of CQ-2 cabinets, six UPA-1P units, 14 UPJ-1P cabinets, and four 700-HP subwoofers.
For those keeping count, Fellowship Church's total Meyer Sound inventory now runs upwards of 185 loudspeaker cabinets.
According to Wheeler, relying on Meyer Sound systems has helped achieve a uniform sound across multiple sites. "With a Meyer product, you can count on the consistency. You always know what to expect," he says. "You get great sound out of the box, without major surgery. We can focus on dealing with the acoustical differences at the various sites, without having to worry about just getting the box to sound right."
The consistency has also come from the ongoing relationship between Fellowship Church and Clark ProMedia, who has supplied all of the Meyer Sound systems, as well as working with Wheeler and Walker on their design.
According to Houston Clark, the continuing association is a natural fit for all involved.