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A Church Audio System for Traditional and Contemporary Services, Part 2

Dec 16, 2010 4:52 PM, With Bennett Liles

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And it’s probably a great thing for them to have a sound company come in and not just try to see how much gear they can sell but actually consider what they can do to integrate some existing equipment.
That’s right. We do find that fixing the room first is, in the long run, best for the customer, and so we always take a good listen to the room and make sure that we’re not just trying to replace a speaker system that can do the job. Also we don’t ever want to try and install a speaker system into a room that it will not sound good in, and sometimes a room will not sound good with any speaker system because it sounds so bad to start off with. [Timestamp: 8:56]

Right, a bad room can make a good sound system sound like a real cheapster sometimes.
That’s correct.

And you told me on part one that everything went better than expected when the Aviom was fired up because you didn’t have much rehearsal time on that. Is there a substantial difference in the volume level between the contemporary service and the more traditional one?
Yes there is. The contemporary service would be running quite a bit louder than the traditional and that, at the beginning, was a concern with the system that they had in place. Before they were concerned if they were using the stage plus the fact that they had such a long reverberation time. I had mentioned in the previous segment that they had a three second reverb time in their room, and they realized that the volumes were going to be unbearable when they moved in. So by putting the majority of the band on in-ears and by adding acoustic treatment and also by fixing the tuning of the speaker system so that it was more pleasing to the ear, we found that they were able to get volumes that were much more acceptable while still maintaining the dynamic that they were looking for in the contemporary service. [Timestamp: 10:12]

And we touched a little bit on this before, but how do you go about making the technical transition between the two services? How long does it take to go through that?
They run the traditional service first, then the contemporary service second, and the change over takes around about 15 minutes. Because of the digital board, most of the technical configurations set up ahead of time and saved as scene so that can just be recalled. Many of the inputs on stage are already patched so that nothing has to be repatched. The LSD9-32 provides enough preempt inputs that everything can remain patched in for both services, and so all that is really necessary is for the band to set up their equipment, for the technical team to position any microphones that need to be positioned, slide the drum kit into place and move the piano into place, do a quick sound check, and they’re ready to go. [Timestamp: 11:05]

Well that sounds like it was a lot easier than the situation you had before. Now I think you ended up using a hybrid stage monitoring system for the performers. Is that right?
The one thing that we recommended to Arapaho is that they keep their vocalists and the people up front on stage on wedges. Although this means that they wouldn’t have as pleasing a mix as they would if they were on in-ears. It provides a couple of benefits that we find to be quite important in the worship setting, one of which is that without having in-ears in it’s easier for the vocalist to be able to relate to the same acoustic space as the main congregation is and so there isn’t as much of a detachment between what’s going on in the room and what the lead singers are experiencing. The other advantage of having them on wedges&emdash;it was purely a price advantage&emdash;and that is that they did not have to have wireless channels to be able to have wireless in-ears, and so that meant that they were able to have fewer wireless channels and be able to save that money for other things. [Timestamp: 12:14]

Yeah, that’s a big adjustment for a lot of the performers, going to in-ear and some of them, especially those singing out front, are just more comfortable with the traditional floor monitors. So what’s been the reaction to the new sound system from the pastor and the congregation?
Well everyone has been very happy from the beginning. When I talked to the senior pastor after the first day and asked him if he even could hear a difference, he immediately starting beaming and raving about the fact that he could finally hear what he was saying on the platform without feeling like he was talking in a cavern. He had apparently found it quite distracting prior to that and he was probably the first one to notice the advantage of what the acoustic treatment brought. The band members were very happy with the Aviom system. They were thrilled with the fact that they had the control over the their own mix and were able to be independent without having to be going back and forth through a technical volunteer, and they were able to have their own custom mix, which they didn’t have before because they were having to share monitor mixes prior to that. [Timestamp: 13:21]

That’s really a great thing when you can go in there and make such a big difference, not just for the band members but for the pastor and the congregation. They sometimes look at you like Superman after making those changes where they can really all hear the difference. Thanks Luke. It’s Luke Raymond with Dispersion Design and the Arapaho Road Baptist Church project in Garland, Texas. It’s been great having you on to tell us about it Luke and thanks for being here.

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