The original Hymnal Plus HT-300 has been the benchmark for digital hymn players for over ten years. The new HT-400 builds on that design, retaining the HT-300’s ease of use, huge repertoire and sound quality while adding many refinements and several new features, all designed either to enhance usability or improve the quality of performance.
As technology has evolved, many churches have accumulated a pile of gadgets to provide support during a worship service: CD player, mp3 player, laptop PC etc. Managing all this can be a nightmare for churches that don’t have a resident AV (audio-visual) expert, so the HT-400 pulls it all together into one easy-to-use package. Set up playlists for services in advance and let the Hymnal Plus do all the work on the day, enabling you to focus on the service.
The Hymnal Plus has a well-deserved reputation for ease of use. The HT-400 user interface refines this even further with simple tabs down the left edge of the screen for each job you might want to do (play a tune, change the sound, create a playlist, display a slide etc). The new 7” colour touch screen adds even further to the ease of use, with colour highlights used to guide the user.
The Tiresias font is used for all text throughout the user interface, as well as for all labelling on the supplied infrared remote handset. Developed for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, the Tiresias font is used for all UK TV subtitling and provides impressive legibility. The large print version, TiresiasLP, is included for the display of lyrics (or other texts) to a projector or monitor.
The sockets on the back are all clearly labelled and colour-coded to make them easier to identify in dim lighting.
With a vast standard repertoire of over 2750 tunes*, indexed to a range of widely-used hymn books, the Hymnal Plus provides most of the music most churches need straight out of the box. A range of optional repertoire upgrades is available at any time, and you can add your own mp3 and midi file selections. As part of our ongoing product development program we are constantly recording new material and compiling indexes to other popular hymn books. *Minimum. Actual number varies by region.
The new Hymnal Plus has improved instrument sounds across the board, from pipe organs to piano, orchestra and worship band stylings. With over 200 preset instrument styles to choose from, finding just the right sound is easy and you can switch to another style at any time – even during playback.
The huge variety of styles can also be a tremendous aid in introducing newer songs to a congregation, or modernising a traditional tune for younger ears.
The Hymnal Plus gives you the ability to very simply personalise the music to suit your congregation. Alter the speed, the number of verses – even the length of pause between verses. Easily add an introduction, slow down at the end of the last verse, add an Amen. No technical or musical knowledge is required, just familiarity with the congregation. Once the settings are just as you want them, press the Save button to take a snapshot. Next time you select that tune, simply press the Load button to recall all your settings.
The Hymnal Plus is designed from the ground up for the dedicated purpose of providing musical accompaniment for congregational singing, and that’s rather more specialised than just playing a CD!
Using the Playlist feature, you can plan and store all the music for services in advance. There’s no limit to the number of playlists you can store, so you can create a different playlist for every service and give each one a familiar name for identification later. What’s more, there’s no limit to the number of items you can store in a playlist. An item can be any of the thousands of built-in tunes, one of your own mp3 or midi files, or just a visual item (e.g. a text slide or image).
It’s easy to add and delete items in a playlist, and you can quickly re-arrange the play order with simple Move Up and Move Down buttons.
The HT-400 comes with both digital and analog* video output as standard. The main purpose of the Hymnal Plus will always be to accompany the singing of congregational music, but there are many resources available for subtly enhancing a service with visual elements, aside from displaying song lyrics.
If you do display song lyrics during a service, you can either type them straight into the Hymnal Plus or create text files externally (using a PC) and copy them onto the Hymnal Plus SD memory card. You can link a text file to any tune in the repertoire and (with some very basic text formatting) the Hymnal Plus will display your song lyrics automatically as it plays the music, showing a verse (or chorus) at a time. The vector font engine and 24-bit RGB colour output provide a high-quality display of song lyrics and other texts. *Requires simple connector adaptor
The new Hymnal Plus comes with an A-Z Master Index book, listing all the songs available in the standard repertoire. You can also browse through the master index (or any of the installed hymn book indexes) on-screen at the swipe of a finger, or search for tunes using the clear on-screen keyboard. (You can connect a USB qwerty typing keyboard if you prefer.)
The new OurBook feature lets you create your own sub-list of songs from the vast repertoire of the Hymnal Plus. Whether you want to make up a numbered index to another hymn book or your church has its own unique collection of songs compiled over time, you can easily pull them into your own numbered list for future use.
The Hymnal Plus doesn’t play wrong notes and has incredible timing accuracy. In fact, it is far more accurate than any human could ever be. If you prefer a little more character, the new Humanise feature enables you to add subtle amounts of performance inaccuracy to the playback, to mimic a real musician more accurately. Don’t worry, you can’t ruin it – and it still won’t play wrong notes!
The HT-400 has built-in folding legs for desktop use, but on the back of the unit we have included a 75mm VESA mount. VESA is the standard mounting system used for flat-screen TVs, so a huge variety of mounts is readily available – everything from floor stands to wall-mounted fixed or swing-arm brackets and quick-release adaptors.
The HT-400 features a built-in stereo amplifier and speakers (10 watts per channel), useful for personal monitoring (e.g. when preparing playlists) or use in outreach. When these are used on their own, the HT-400 automatically processes the sound to maximise the performance of the internal audio system.
In spite of its larger 7″ colour, capacitive touch screen, the HT-400 measures just 257 x 229 x 54 mm (10.1 x 9 x 2.1 inches) and weighs only 1.54kg (3.4lb).