Tag Archives: Church Tech

Your Church PA (Pt3)

In ‘Your Church PA’ we get a peek into some of the audio/production setups at local churches in South Africa. We get to ogle over some photos of gear, share ideas, and learn from the wisdom and experience of those techs who keep the systems running week-to-week! For more detail look here.

This week – Grant Leonard from Grace Family Church’s Riverside Campus shares their setup with us.

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“Grace Family Church Riverside has been operating for a year now and we have gotten great results from the PA we chose.

What we put in the auditorium were two EAW KF394’s that are flown from the ceiling and two EAW SB180 subs that are on the floor, one each, below the two individual hangs.

A Lab Gruppen FB+10000Q amplifier powers the four cabinets and for speaker processing we use an EAW UX3600 Processor that we had time aligned and tuned for the response of the room.

The PA in the room looks really small but we get a good sound and great coverage all the way to the back of the room. While the room is essentially a rectangular box, we have been very lucky in that there aren’t any horrible “hot-spots” or “dead-spots” and we have seemingly no trouble with standing waves. Miracles do happen!

Grace Family Church Riverside is a “multi-site” plant of Grace Family Church in Umhlanga and as a result it made some of the decisions, as to what gear to get, a little easier. Two of these things in particular are the sound desk and the “In-Ear-Monitoring” (IEM) system. In order to get a measure of similarity or unity across campuses we chose the Yamaha LS9 mixing console and Aviom personal mixers for IEM. This goes to serve our sound guys, tech volunteers and worship team volunteers, as moving from one campus to the next doesn’t carry the burden of learning a new desk or new IEM system.

We have an Aviom 16/o-Y1 card that’s plugged into the back of the LS9 which is connected via cat5e to the Aviom A-16D Pro distribution unit onstage, from there the signal is split out to the seven Aviom A16II Personal Mixers.

We discovered very early on that the room is incredibly live, so controlling the onstage sound, drums, guitar and bass amps was a huge priority.

The Aviom system took care of our onstage sound.

We then decided to build our own drum screen with a roof, as opposed to buying one, which was a huge cost saving exercise. Then much to the dismay of the people who play bass at Riverside, we swapped the bass amp for a BSS AR-133 active DI box and we moved the electric guitar amp to a separate room behind the stage.

Once we had gone through all these motions, the affect it had on the FOH mix was invaluable, the room seems a little less live and the congregation aren’t getting there ears mutilated by the obnoxious SPLs of drum kits and guitar amps.

Overall we are really satisfied with the results and the equipment we went for.”

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Your Church PA (Pt2)

In ‘Your Church PA’ we get a peek into some of the audio/production setups at local churches in South Africa. We get to ogle over some photos of gear, share ideas, and learn from the wisdom and experience of those techs who keep the systems running week-to-week! For more detail look here.

This week – Dean Wilke from Olive Tree Church shares their setup with us.

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“Like most churches our system has evolved quite a lot over the years. This year saw a massive overhaul of our stage and drum booth.

At the moment we are running 4 QSC K12 speakers (2 downstairs and 2 for our balcony) and 2 K Subs mounted between the two K12s on each side. All of those are running through a DBX Driverack PX. We mix on a Presonus StudioLive 24.4.2 desk. Our stage and hall are too small for wedge monitors so we run an in-ear monitoring system. We recently upgraded for the Hearbacks to the Behringer Powerplay system. A Powerplay P16I rack by our desk and 7 Powerplay P16M mixing modules on stage running through CAT5 cables.

We moved and rebuilt our stage earlier this year and decided to use stage boxes at strategic points on the stage with XLR, Jack and CAT5 connections in them. We had these custom built and have proven to be one of best investments. Under the stage we are running Klotz microphone cable and Mogami instrument cable. The instrument cables are for electric guitars and go into an amp room to the side of our stage.

We also had a double-pane glass drum booth built after realising the Clearsonic one we had just wasn’t cutting it in our small hall. It has been amazing from a mixing point of view. It has given us way more control over the drums and has allowed us to get a much cleaner mix.

And that’s the gist of our setup. We’ve tried to keep it fairly simple while still aiming for great sound quality.”


Your Church PA (Pt1)

In ‘Your Church PA’ we get a peek into some of the audio/production setups at local churches in South Africa. We get to ogle over some photos of gear, share ideas, and learn from the wisdom and experience of those techs who keep the systems running week-to-week! For more detail look here.

This week – Alan from The Church of the Good Shepard (C.O.G.S) in the Durban North Area shares their setup with us.

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“Ours is a 10-year-old setup – It has nevertheless served us well.”
Mixing Console: Allen & Heath 24-4-2 analogue desk (GL2200)
Processing: Lexicon digital reverb, Sabine graphic equaliser.
Amplification: 2 Crown analogue power amps (one bridged to power the subwoofers) and DBX analogue crossover.
Speakers: Turbosound – flighted main speakers (centre-cluster) with subs on the floor.
Monitors: Old-school floor monitors (4 mixes)
Advantages: Moderate skill level required to operate and all settings are immediately visible. Natural ambient sound.
Disadvantages: Ageing desk developed an intermittent fault (turned our to be aged solder joints)
Biggest challenge: Stage is an acoustic amplifier (was good in the 70’s!) so stage sound has to be kept quite low

Your Church PA!

Yay! This is it! Starting tomorrow… ‘Your Church PA!’

I’ve always been excited about church-techs working together, and learning from each other. I’d like to think we are all part of the same body after all, and that essentially we are dealing with the same challenges every weekend! I also love tech. The gear, the complications, the stories, and mostly – the ingenuity of people getting the problem solved.

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I have been feeling really strongly about trying to find a way to better connect local church-techs, as well hearing about their specific enviroments, and learning from they experiences… So I mailed a few church techs I have worked with over the years, and ‘Your Church PA’ was born.

I would love to hear about your church too – so please feel free to email me a few pictures of your church technical setup, with a short description of the setup, as well as some of your greatest successes, and your biggest headaches. (matt@grace.za.org)


Epic (tech) Fail Pt6

 

 

It’s true – I have been known as a tech guy who will ‘do whatever it takes to make it work’ – but not this! During the retrofit of an old building we discovered this (in the ceiling) powering several stage PAR Cans. That’s right: twinflex, hand-joined and covered in masking tape? (there was also at least 50m excess cable coiled up in the ceiling)

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Epic (tech) Fail Pt5

Data projector mounting: You’re doing it wrong. (although there is something admirable about sticking to cable-ties as a material)

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Rounding down the Decimals

934836-3x2-340x227I was drinking cheap coffee with a wise-old-audio-guy-friend-of-mine recently, who reminded me of a tech concept that has seemed to follow me around over the last few years. I call it “inconsistency in rounding down the decimal places”.

It’s the really simple idea that a technology chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link.

It’s sadly all-too-common to see churches/tech guys who spend a disproportional amount of time and money on scrutinizing the steel links in the chain – while ignoring the links made from paper!

Here’s a simple (and common) example:

A church budget allows for an audio gear upgrade. The tech people, leadership, volunteers and vendors all go into a frenzy trying to decide which new digital console they need to get. The reality is – this room acoustics are so terrible that almost any console will sound the same – terrible.

The problem here is that the question is wrong.

Wrong Question – “which digital console should we get?”

Right Question – “what would be the most efficient investment in improving our audio presentation?”

Answer – “acoustic treatment and a drum screen”

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It’s critical to identify the really weak links, so you can ask the right questions.

This also applies to human resource. In the old days AV gear was so terrible (and expensive) that the gear was the bottleneck to great production.

Nowadays even the most budget consoles sound reasonable, and incorporate really sophisticated electronics – often the bottleneck is the operator. Maybe your resource is better spent on training.

As church tech guys – we are called to be good stewards of what we have been entrusted with. Being wise with our resources is not an optional extra.

Here are some tips I’ve learned:

  1. Beware of taking advice from people who are also selling you gear.
  2. Find out what other churches are doing. Ask a lot of questions. You’d be surprised how many of us are in the same boat.
  3. Keep focus on the problem and not the gear.
  4. Get advice from trusted sources – pay for professionals if need be.
  5. Consider investing in people as important and equipment