Step into Muldraugh Hill Baptist Church of Lebanon, KY, on any given Sunday as the music and ministry are brought clearly and vividly to life thanks to a recent audio transformation from JCA Media and LEA Professional amplifiers.
This modest town, which sits directly in the center of the Bluegrass State, is no stranger to exceptional music. Lebanon was an entertainment hotspot for three decades in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, hosting classic musicians like Chuck Berry, B.B. King, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Jerry Lee Lewis at local clubs. So, it’s no wonder that great acoustics are important to the culture and history of this small town. The nearly 150-year-old Muldraugh Hill is among many Baptist and other denominational churches in the area that are transforming the dynamic of their services through audio, video, and lighting.
JCA Media is key to those transformations, known for finely tuning and tailoring installations to house-of-worship to meet the needs of each church. “We get tired of churches being sold things they don't need,” said Alex Peake, project manager for JCA Media, and AV technician at his local church. “We give churches what they need—quality equipment and a well-done installation. I have seen many installs where churches are sold things that are way above what was really needed for the job. Not that I don't love quality gear, but you can go overboard with it if you're not doing the right thing.”
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At Muldraugh Hill Baptist, the church was hampered by an aging audiovisual system in its main sanctuary. The main projector was propped up by hymnals, affectionately called ‘shymnals,’ literally projecting on the wall from a laptop down in the front pew. The church had a center loudspeaker cluster that didn’t cover the space adequately, and a choir monitor was hung 25 feet from the choir, so reverberation from the walls was a challenge.
In other words, it was a challenge that JCA was well-qualified to handle. “We try to go into every install with the end goal in mind,” added Peake. “We don't want to lock you into a system that doesn't allow room for growth, but at the same time, we want to give you a long-lasting system that will do the job well, fit your needs, and grow with you."
The audio portion of the installation utilized a Danley SM100B loudspeaker, two SH Mini’s, two Cubes, and four Nanos, all powered by LEA Professional 704 and 354 Network Connect Series Smart Amplifiers. An Allen & Heath SQ-5 digital mixer runs all audio, connected to Earthworks choir, pulpit, and piano mics fed into ACE Backstage stage pockets and six Audio-Technica wireless mics.
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“We were able to take a 4-channel LEA 704 and Smart Power Bridge the first channel for the main Danley SM100B loudspeaker. Then we connected a channel per front fill, with a Danley cube on each side,” said Peake. JCA’s team then used the fourth channel for the choir monitors and the 4-channel LEA 354 powered the four stage monitors. “Both LEA amplifiers are connected to their network via a Luxul switch so that we can utilize the LEA cloud monitoring feature,” added Peake.
“I love the Smart Power Bridge function. I can create a left-center-right (LCR) configuration with a subwoofer on a single four-channel amp because I can Smart Power Bridge the sub on a single channel and then do the left, center, and right. That really helps in a lot of our layouts,” commented Peake.
LEA’s 704 and 354 Network Connect Series Smart Amplifiers, featuring 700 and 350 watts per channel, respectively, are well-suited for small to medium-scale installations like Muldraugh Hill Baptist. The two, four, and eight-channel amps feature HiZ (70V or 100V) or LoZ, selectable by channel. With three ways to connect, the church can engage the built-in Wi-Fi access point, connect to the venue’s Wi-Fi, or connect to any local area network via Cat5 or Cat6 cable.
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LEA’s Network Connect Series also offers cloud connectivity, for easy troubleshooting and support from anywhere. “Being able to troubleshoot for a client remotely, sometimes three-and-a-half hours away, is a service we love to provide to our clients,” added Peake.
The hills in Lebanon are alive these days with the sound of music from Muldraugh Hill Baptist Church. The pastor and congregants are thrilled with the new system, which helps bring renewed energy and life to weekly services and church activities.
This installation is a perfect example of how even a small system with the right gear can be incredibly powerful yet simple. One person can easily run audio, lighting, projection, and video from the Front of House.
“We are firm believers in doing it the right way with the right gear the first time, and we won't install low-cost, low-quality products. Our names are on it, we take pride in our work, we love what we do, and we want it to be a lasting investment for churches as well,” added Peake.