Making the Move from Portable to Permanent and from Analog to Digital
When Allen & Heath announced the availability of the lower-priced iLive-T digital mixing system at January's NAMM Show, Dan Redman, president of Spinnaker Multimedia Solutions in Malvern, Pennsylvania, was ready. The day after the announcement, Redman placed the first order.
"Our churches had been waiting for a console with these features, at this price point, for a very long time. So we were ready to go with it," he said.
The needs of Victory Christian Fellowship in Audubon, Pennsylvania, were matched perfectly by the new iLive-T112 mixing surface with iDR48 MixRack.
"This was the fastest project I've ever worked on," Redman said. "We started in early December and opened on March 29. It's a testament to the builder, the architects, our manufacturer partners, and especially the church. They knew what they wanted to accomplish and made smart decisions quickly."
For the previous five years, Victory Christian had been a portable church, setting up each Sunday in a local high school auditorium, until steady growth made a permanent home feasible. The new 640-seat sanctuary was created in what had been an office building, totally refurbished in theater style with two tiers for good sightlines.
"Spinnaker provided a complete audio consult, from an acoustic architecture study through comparative sound system analysis," said Liam Slack, worship arts pastor for the church. "They helped us make educated decisions on everything from construction materials to gear, so the sanctuary would be as high-fidelity as possible. Our worship style could be described as 'beyond contemporary,' using a more aggressive, pop rock approach than might be found at your average modern worship service. Sound quality is very important to us, so we were drawn to Allen & Heath from the beginning. When Spinnaker told us the new iLive-T console was in our price range and we could be among the first to have one, we were thrilled."
A key iLive feature critical to the Victory Christian Fellowship was the extensive output section. Spinnaker designed a Left-Center-Right system with Subwoofers for the sanctuary. Another 16 Aux Sends are used to feed the Aviom A16-II personal monitoring system used by most of the musicians. Two additional mono outputs are used to send full mixes to a pair of traditional floor wedges.
"The 15-foot ceiling limits throw distances, so we needed a total of eight main speaker cabinets in the room, three mains, three delays, and a pair of front fills," explained Redman.
Four dedicated console outputs feed an Electro-Voice Netmax N8000, which handles signal processing and distribution to the main loudspeaker system, which consists of Apogee AFI-8 speakers for LCR, Apogee AE2S2 frontfills, and two EAW SBX220 subwoofers.
The band is straight rock in structure, with two guitars, keyboards, bass and drums backing three vocalists, requiring about 30 of the iDR48's 48 inputs. This leaves plenty of room for expanded configurations for guest artists who sit in on percussion, saxophone, etc.
"They can put any combinations of inputs and returns onto the Aviom channels," said Redman. "They are set up with subgroups for things like drums and backing vocals. When they add more performers, the iLive-T makes it easy for them to reconfigure what's on those 16 outputs."
While the functionality and flexibility of the iLive-T fulfilled the church's technical requirements, it was the sound quality that has really impressed Slack.
"The first time I played my guitar from the console, I was grinning from ear to ear," he said. "There's a depth and a richness that you just don't expect from a digital system. The on-board effects processing sounds phenomenal. And, it's all part of the system, so there's less to go wrong, and no need to spend extra money on a rack full of outboard gear."
In addition to the physical change in moving from a portable sanctuary to a permanent one, the technical staff at Victory Christian Fellowship has had to make the transition from analog to digital.
"The irony is that this console would have made our portable system so much simpler – like instant recall of settings and replacing the 32-channel snake with a single Cat5 cable," said Slack. "It's a huge change, but we haven't had any difficulties whatsoever. The iLive-T is just so intuitive and it sounds so great, the transition has been a cakewalk. We couldn't be happier."
Evolved from the successful flagship iLive digital range, the iLive-T Series has all the performance and power of the original iLive in a new lightweight, affordable package. The T Series comprises the fixed I/O iDR-32 and iDR-48 MixRacks and the iLive-T80 and iLive-T112 Surface options with remote CAT5 connection. Each rack can be used with either control surface, and all models will be compatible with the existing iLive units. The T Series surfaces feature the same iLive fader strip layout with 4 layers per bank, and color assignable channel ID strip. Above is the large, instant access channel processing section with familiar analogue style controls that quickly help the new user feel at home with digital mixing. A built-in touch screen provides an additional graphical view of the processing and access to the memories and system configuration. All its settings can be transferred using USB. Administrative lock-down features together to full scene recall and onboard effects make the iLive-T the perfect choice for touring, events, and fixed installations.
Allen & Heath iLive Digital Mixing System:
Spinnaker Multimedia Solutions: