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Clear communication at New North

Clear communication at New North

Clear communication at New North


Zak Stamps, technical director at New North Church in San Francisco Peninsula, was seeking an intercom solution to allow his production team to communicate clearly, regardless of the ambient SPLs during lively services. A solution was found just before Christmas 2019 – and that contributed a swell in volunteer numbers – in the form of a Clear-Com intercom system. The church has approximately 1,200 congregants that fill the 400-seat auditorium during three Sunday services that feature live bands and loud music.

‘We had two-way radios, but we had to talk so loudly that our congregants would overhear us shouting directions,’ recalled Stamps. ‘We had to run outside to talk so that non-team members wouldn’t hear us. Stage managers were frustrated at having to wait for transitions between songs before being able to speak up. We run on a volunteer-based team and people were becoming reluctant to help because it was so difficult to communicate over the music.

Stamps’ key requirements were for a system to provide clear communications at all times, especially during times of worship, allow for integration with existing systems, eliminate RF interference, and to possess wireless capabilities to enable roaming, as well as the ability to expand the system in the future.

Stamps tested several systems that were unable to deal sufficiently with RF interference and others that didn’t provide clear and intelligible audio in the venue, which is relatively small with an intimate FOH position. ‘Then we had the chance to try [Clear-Com's] FreeSpeak II, and it was incredible,he explained. Installation and implementation were easy, the entire system was installed and ready to go in a few hours with no additional support. When we tested it, the team was blown away by the differenceeven over loud music we could hear each other clearly.’

New North Church installed a FreeSpeak II digital wireless system comprising a base station, four wired sets, and two wireless beltpacks. ‘A big concern was wanting to be sure that we could upgrade the system when we needed to,’ added Stamps. ‘With FreeSpeak II, there is loads of room for future expansion we can have up to 25 wireless beltpacks on a single base station, which is very important to us as we have plans to expand to a larger venue. The Clear-Com system is a sound investment for the church and our congregation.’

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