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HARMAN’s Martin Lighting and HARMAN Professional Audio Components Provide Compelling Sight and Sound At Biltmore Baptist Church

12 June 2013, ARDEN, North Carolina

Biltmore Baptist Church

Biltmore Baptist Church serves its 7,500 members with three houses of worship in North Carolina. In addition, the church maintains a strong online presence with live streaming video services, podcasts and original video productions. Its main Arden location has a 2400-seat worship center equipped with full audio and video facilities and has been using Martin lighting and HARMAN Professional audio gear for more than a decade for its sermons, concerts, church activities and theatrical and video productions.

The church utilizes a variety of Martin intelligent lighting fixtures to illuminate its main platform area, which is 110 feet across and 45 feet deep with a 80-foot stage between the video screens which are located at each end of the platform. The church’s lighting array includes four MAC 500 floor-mounted spot luminaires with dual color wheels, dual gobos and a rotating prism for uplighting, two MAC 500s used as overhead wash fixtures and a number of MAC 575 Krypton 575-watt lights positioned throughout the church. The MAC 575s each feature two eight-position color wheels, six indexable rotating gobos, nine static gobos, an interchangeable rotating prism and built-in strobe effects. During the holidays, additional MAC 101 and MAC 301 Wash LED lights and MAC 700 Wash lamp lighting is rented to add festive colors and special effects to the church’s interior spaces.

“Our lighting requirements run the gamut from simple to highly elaborate,” noted Eric Alexander, the full-time Technical Lighting Specialist at Biltmore Baptist Church. “When the pastor is giving his sermon we just need some basic wash lighting to cover him as he walks around the platform – we want the focus to be on him and not the lighting and a couple of Martin wash lights are all we need to provide uniform and effective illumination.”

“For the praise band and choir we’ll get more creative and complex with effects and colors. In theatrical productions and concerts we’ll use the full array of colors, effects, movement and backlighting that Martin lighting provides, for a more powerful and exciting presentation.” Alexander has plenty of help from Zach Brady, the church’s audio specialist and front of house mixer, Technical Director Dave Duncan and a cast of volunteers that can number up to 20 during a Sunday morning service with choir, orchestra and praise band.

Alexander points out that, thanks to the variety of uses he needs from Martin lighting, he uses everything the church has, all the time, on occasion moving the fixtures from room to room. “I don’t keep anything in the back room.” Because all the fixtures are used constantly, dependability is paramount, and Alexander finds that with regular maintenance, cleaning and changing out lamps, motors and igniters on a regular schedule he can count on using the luminaires “until they fall off the truss.”

Asheville, NC systems contractor Real World Audio installed the audio for the Biltmore Baptist Church. Three columns of eight JBL VerTec VT4888 line array elements each are hung at stage left, center and right, and four VerTec VT4880 dual-18-inch line array subwoofers are placed underneath the stage. A variety of additional JBL VP (Venue Performance) and other speakers are installed throughout the church in the fellowship hall, youth area, gymnasium and other rooms, all powered by Crown amplifiers and connected via HARMAN HiQnet System Architect software. In addition, the church uses a variety of JBL VRX Series loudspeakers and Crown amps in its Swannanoa and Franklin campuses.

“My main consideration is that the lighting and sound must serve the message the pastor and the people on stage want to deliver without drawing too much attention to itself,” said Alexander. “The Martin lighting can provide an incredibly wide range of looks, colors and effects and the JBL loudspeakers provide stunning concert-quality sound, so we could really dazzle the congregants if we wanted to but that’s not what we’re about. We use lighting and sound to enhance the message we want to convey and if you do it right, it has a big impact.”