Temple Israel finds flexibility with Earthworks

Temple Israel finds flexibility with Earthworks

Published: WORSHIP

USA: When Temple Israel, a Reform Jewish Congregation in Omaha, Nebraska, was looking to upgrade their sound system, they turned to Lincoln, Nebraska-based Electronic Contracting Company (ECC) to upgrade their system. Acoustic consultant David Walters of Diversified Design Group of Lincoln designed the sound and audio/visual systems. As part of the project specification, six FW730 Flexwands and two customised podium microphones from Earthworks were utilised. ECC interfaced with Mr Walters as the project needs developed, which led to additional Earthworks microphones being specified for reading and Shabaat tables on the Bimah. Chris Chavanu, sales engineer for ECC, first learned about Earthworks microphones eight years previous. ‘David had specified some Earthworks FW730 Flexwand microphones for the Sacred Heart Catholic Church project we did in Omaha, Nebraska,’ recalls Mr Chavanu. ‘The overall look of this microphone was very pro, very inconspicuous and very low profile.’

Chavanu notes one of his favourite features of the Earthworks FW730: ‘The male XLR is at the base of the microphone with no visible wires above ground level. This is ultimately what we want in a choir microphone; to be as sleek, portable and as clean as possible. All of the choir mics I have used previously were not the right fit, because I wanted something portable, clean and that looked well. That male XLR at the base of the microphone makes a huge difference in my opinion.’

Beyond the mechanical design of the FW730 FlexWand, Chavanu also notes the difference that the FW730 Flexwands made in terms of audio quality, which led him to select the microphones for Temple Israel. ‘The FW730 had a nice sensitivity and you don’t have to be on-axis for it to work well. You can be 60-degrees off-axis and still get a consistent frequency response whether you are far back or up front. When you get it gained up nicely, it does sound very, very good and ultimately the sound you get out of this microphone sounds less amplified and more natural. When the FW730s are paired with a good loudspeaker system that is properly tuned, you will end up with a sound that is very much like the acoustic source.’

Chavanu explains the improvements that the FW730 Flexwand provides as compared to other microphones he has previously used for choir miking applications. “The Earthworks microphones give us a much more consistent response with respect to the acoustic source. Whatever sound you pick up with that microphone, it is going to sound very natural coming out. The wider and more accurate polar response is also very helpful and it sounds the same when you move from left to right. You don’t have to be on-axis when you are talking and it still sounds very good.”

Chavanu recounts a particularly memorable experience using the Flexwand FW730s on the choir at Temple Israel. ‘We miked up a 30-voice choir with four FW730s and it sounded very, very natural given that the choir was not ideally placed, not on risers and on a carpeted floor with less than ideal acoustics and no reflective surface above them. The Flexwands gave me a lot better response and more gain than I could have asked for. Using these microphones for the Jewish high holidays was a great experience.’

The FW730 Flexwands have also found a home on a variety of instruments at Temple Israel, ranging from piano, woodwinds and strings, including flute, oboe and cello. ‘We amplify the cello very little, because we don’t want it to sound amplified,’ says Mr Chavanu. ‘This is where the FlexWand is super helpful, because I can easily bend the FW730 mic head down to right where the cello is. When I mike the piano, I have the lid at quarter-stick and insert the mic head inside the piano above the upper-mid strings close to the dampers.’

When looking for a podium microphone to meet the needs of Temple Israel, Chavanu worked with Earthworks to customize two Flexmics with an extended 27-inch rigid gooseneck and flex at both ends. In Jewish synagogues, the Bimah is used as an orator’s lectern for Torah reading during services. ‘Because the Torah has such physically large scrolls which are very, very fragile, the Bimah reading table has a very large surface and it is angled forward so it can be used as a reading surface for the Torah,’ explains Chavanu. ‘When they roll out the Torah scrolls the microphone must be above the wooden end caps on the sticks that support the Torah when it is rolled out. The microphone has to go up and over the Torah, and the mic also needs to be long enough to reach where the Rabbi or Cantor is standing to maximize gain before feedback.’

The extended length Flexmics are also crucial for bar mitzvahs, when younger children are speaking at the Bimah. ‘During bar mitzvahs young children use this mic and they are very soft-spoken when reading Hebrew,’ says Mr Chavanu, ‘so the microphone needs to be fairly close to where the person is standing. We used two of these mics on the reading table spaced about 30-inches apart from each other. These mics worked great, they are very reliable and sound very natural.’

Chavanu concludes with his experience with Earthworks as a company: “I have had great experiences working with the staff at the Earthworks factory. They are phenomenal. They are always there to bounce ideas off of, very open to customising their products, and helping us adapt their products for unique situations and applications, such as creating a plate to mount on the ceiling that gave us a hard-shaft, hanging, overhead choir microphone.’

www.diversifieddesign.com

www.earthworksaudio.com

www.eccoinc.com

www.templeisraelomaha.com

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