The Task:  To improve the current sound quality in their sanctuary to handle both their traditional Sunday services and their new contemporary evening service, Alive at 5. Another use for the system would be to accommodate live musical groups that perform at the church. The challenge was to provide an unobtrusive system that would provide even coverage for the room and keep with the aesthetic beauty of the award winning  architecture. They also wanted the ability to change formats of worship with ease delivering evenly distributed  tight, clear sound to all locations in the sanctuary.

The Solution: Tim Meyer, systems integrator for Advanced Lighting & Sound was brought in to help find a solution. The team at Advanced did extensive modeling of the room looking at all types of traditional speaker solutions. “ The room is a long narrow space with many reflective surfaces. Along with this, the architectural integrity of the room needed to be maintained, limiting speaker mounting locations,” said Bob Sullivan project manager for Advanced Lighting & Sound.

After a visit to the NSCA 2002 show, both Bob Minchella and Bob Sullivan, owners of ALS  were excited about the possibilities of the new Nexo Geo product. Further modeling and investigations were made and it was decided that an array of 6 Geo speakers per side would do the job. The team at Advanced had some concerns with the ability to get a good gain before feedback ratio due to the close proximity of the speakers to the podium mics.  As part of Meyer’s design the system included an Ashley 2.24ps EQ, for system tuning and feedback suppression. This configuration delivered evenly distributed, tight, crystal clear sound to all locations in the sanctuary.

A new mixing console was needed and Meyer chose the Innovason Compact mixing console for its small foot print, no pews had to be moved. “The Innovason gives them the flexibility to go from one service to another and live shows with the touch of a button. They were tired of patching and unpatching between services and shows,” said Meyer.  He also recommended the Sennheiser 500 series with 4 lavs and 6 handheld  microphones because they sound great and were very cost effective. For video an Eiki LC-X1000 3500 ansi lumen projector equipped with a short throw lens and an electric tensioned rear projection screen was installed so it could be hidden when not in use.

“Once the final EQ was completed the system has performed very well. We are very pleased with the Nexo Geos.

They fill the room nicely with very even almost perfect coverage. It is amazing how much sound comes out of such a small array. The sound is great!” “ We really love the Innovason and how easy it is to change programs not to mention how great the ease of mixing is as well as the EQ, said Tom Randolph, technical director at First United Methodist Church, Midland. 

History: Designed by Alden Dow, First United Methodist Church earned national recognition in 1956 when it received an American Institute of Architects Award of Merit for outstanding American architecture. It was the only religious building among the nineteen honored that year. Originally built on the site of the present downtown post office, in 1868, the 40 by 70 foot structure  cost a little over $6,720.00 with furnishings. 

Building of the current location began on April 24th,1949 and their first services were held in the new sanctuary in September of 1950.  From its very beginnings in 1857,  First United Methodist Church in Midland has experienced many changes. It has grown from a congregation numbering 92 to over 2,700 members sinceits beginning.

315 N. Larkin St. 
Midland, MI. 48640 

Tom Randolph, Technical Director


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