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Church Sound: A Comprehensive Tech Booth Remodel
Making it big enough and tech capable while still fitting into the specified footprint...
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Fully Wired

Tech booths have a lot of cable in them. For years, we’ve had a pile of cables at the front wall/floor intersection of ours. We’ve cleaned it up quite a bit by adding some conduit and a slotted cable duct (and tearing out old cable that’s no longer used).

But for this one, I wanted it as clean as possible. As I mentioned last time in the conduit post, I located three 12-inch x 12-ich boxes with 36-port panels on them throughout the booth.

We put them as close to the rack locations as possible so everything will be pretty much straight runs. Because we’ll still have a few cables that won’t fit in the boxes (HDMI cables, for example), I’m also running a small 1-inch x 2-inch slotted cable duct around the perimeter.

Because we located the producer desk behind FOH, and it’s on the producer desk that the monitors for LAMA and the (Roland) M-48s live, I had to come up with a solution for that. I didn’t want the engineers to have to keep turning around to check levels or fix an M-48 issue. So I decided to double the monitors.

By using simple HDMI splitters, we’ll have a set of monitors in front of and slightly below the (DiGiCo) SD8, and another set on the producer desk. Wireless keyboards and Magic Trackpads at both locations will enable operation from either location.

We’ll also have the master screen and SD8 remote screen at FOH, along with the overview monitor. Including the built-in touch screen, that makes six screens at FOH. Excessive? Probably. But I’m a glutton for information.

All of our wiring is slated to live in F6 TecFlex with service loops so we can pull the racks and desks out to work on the backside. The desks will be on wheels, making it easy to get back behind for access.

It’s hard to see in this picture, but the brace is just behind the keyboard tray.

No More Smashed Knees
I hate most tech booth counters and desks. They either sag in the middle over time, or have bracing that smashes your knees, or a deep front brace that catches your thighs. I determined to engineer my way out of this.

I’m building the desks out of 4-foot x 4-foot redwood because it’s readily available out here. I’m placing a brace in the center of the desk where most of the weight will be concentrated so it won’t sag.

The tops are two layers of 3/4-inch plywood laminated together with glues and screws. The brace is far enough back that when sitting on an architect’s chair, I’ll be able to sit as high as possible without smashing my knees. I also designed a clever little slide out keyboard tray in the middle.

Sometimes I’m accused of over thinking things. And I’ve probably spent a few hundred hours working on this design over the years. But I believe when it’s done, it will be one of the nicest tech booths around. Even with the ugly pull box in the corner.

Mike Sessler now works with Visioneering, where he helps churches improve their AVL systems, and encourages and trains the technical artists that run them. He has been involved in live production for over 25 years and is the author of the blog Church Tech Arts.

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