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Multiple Worship Styles with Digital Console


The most notable thing about weekly services at Christ's Church at Mason (Ohio) is that each service is in a distinctly different style traditional, contemporary, and blended. The church's 1,300-seat sanctuary was recently renovated with a new sound system to handle the contemporary and blended services, while a smaller chapel was built to handle the traditional service. Longtime integrator Worship Resources, www.worshipres.com, was brought in to develop an appropriate audio design, and Allen & Heath's iLive-144 digital mixing system, www.ilive-digital.com, was chosen to handle Front of House and Monitors for the larger sanctuary.

With a volunteer technical staff and a large musical presentation, it was essential that the new console be easy to learn and use.

"Previously, the sanctuary had an analog console," said Tom Rutledge, owner of Worship Resources. "But, with this change, Sunday mornings would now have two rehearsals back to back, then the services themselves. Going with an iLive digital console was the best way to handle multiple styles of worship with fast changeovers."

After test-driving all the major models that fit their budget, the church selected the Allen & Heath iLive-144.

"We did demos of a lot of different boards, and the ease of learning on the iLive just jumped out at me," said Nate Grella, technical director at Christ's Church. "More than anything else, that's what sold us. It's so user-friendly. You just select the channel you want, and everything is right there for you. The touchscreen lets you see what's happening as you change EQ, for instance, which makes it easy to grasp. The iLive made training our volunteers a lot easier."

For the contemporary service, the worship band includes three electric keyboards, an acoustic piano, two or three acoustic guitars, two electrics, and a bass guitar. The drumkit consumes 12 channels, while the 60-voice choir is handled by four overhead mics. The worship leader and a praise team of up to eight vocalists are all on wireless handhelds. An added input card at the iLive control surface handles the nine wireless receivers located at Front of House, plus inputs for audio from computers and iPods. All other inputs go to a patch bay co-located with the iLive rack and amplifiers behind the stage.

"To handle two entirely different bands, we actually have 65 inputs coming off the stage," said Rutledge. "So, we added a patch panel, which feeds into the 40 iLive inputs. That gives us the flexibility to reset the entire stage in just 15 minutes between services."

Monitoring is a mixed affair. The praise team vocalists use floor wedges, while the worship leader uses a wireless in-ear system, all mixed at the iLive control surface. The worship band monitors via an Aviom system, which receives 16 channels from the iLive control surface via DCA groups via the iLive's optional Aviom output card. This allows the musicians to create their individual mixes on stage.

The iLive's comprehensive DSP power makes it easy to handle touring artists and special events as well.

"For one event, we had five different bands on the same night," said Grella. "Changes between acts were fast and easy, and we didn't have to go out and rent any outboard gear. Everything we need is already there, inside the iLive, and it sounds incredible. In fact, we don't even have an outboard effects rack anymore. That's when I realized how great this console is."

Backstage, the iLive rack houses five 8-channel input modules, one 8-channel output module, and the 16-output Aviom module. On the output module, three of the eight channels send the left-right-subwoofer information to the main PA, a dual-array QSC WideLine8 system. The other outputs carry separate monitor mixes to the floor wedges, each fed by a separate Aux output. The Aux system is also used to feed the worship leader's in-ear mix, an assistive listening system, a video record feed.

"Before this, we had a really good-sounding analog console," said Grella. "Once we decided to go digital, it was a matter of finding all the features we needed without compromising in sound quality."









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