Christ’s Church of the Valley in San Dimas, CA, has been growing steadily in recent years, making a switch to digital audio mixing a virtual necessity.
With multiple locations, six weekend services, and a broadcast component that includes live streaming and re-broadcast in New Zealand and Australia, the number of audio paths has increased far beyond the capabilities of conventional analog.
To meet these needs, this evangelical contemporary church selected two Allen & Heath iLive consoles – an iLive-176 for the main sanctuary and an iLive-80 for the broadcast center, located in a separate building.
Patrick Gourley, technical director for the church, worked with Anaheim-based Sound Bridge during the console selection process.
“All our engineers are volunteers,” he explains. “So in addition to all the technical requirements, we had to find something with a fast learning curve. We field tested eight or nine digital consoles, either at trade shows or going to an existing installation in the area, and kept coming back to the iLive.”
“What drew me to iLive was having all the dynamic processing on board, with dedicated knobs for everything on the channel strip,” notes Gourley. “Coming from an analog background, it made the most sense in terms of layout. For most of our engineers, we could get them up and mixing in under an hour.”
Installation was very simple, consisting of replacing the old analog console with the control surface and installing the iDR10 mix rack into the existing racks at FOH. “Our existing snake was already terminated at the console,” he recalls, “so there was no need to locate the mix rack remotely. With all the effects being onboard the iLive, we had plenty of space available in our old effects rack.”
When the church’s broadcast needs expanded, they stayed with Allen & Heath. “We bought the iLive-176 knowing we would be adding a broadcast console. That was one of the big selling points,” Gourley recalls. “Originally, we were running three different matrices on the iLive-176, but adding an iLive-80 with a dedicated engineer for the broadcast mix really gave us the flexibility and quality control we needed.”
The broadcast audio is mixed in a separate building about 500 feet from the sanctuary. The two consoles are connected with a single Cat5 cable, with a Linksys hub to boost the signal a bit. The inputs are sent from the stage to the iLive-176 and relayed to the iLive-80 there.
The stereo mix is then sent back to the video booth in the church for capture along with the switched live video on an Apple G5 computer. “What’s amazing is, even though we’re sending the audio 500 feet there and 500 feet back, we can’t sense any audible delay,” Gourley notes.
After Sunday’s first service, Senior Pastor Jeff Vines’ message and any special elements are burned to DVD and delivered to the church’s auxiliary campus for use in the morning service. The recorded service is also sent to New Zealand and Australia, where it goes on network TV after local production elements are added.
In the main sanctuary, the iLive-176 handles both the house and monitor mixes. Typically, there are 24 to 36 inputs coming from the stage, ten more from wireless systems located at the console, plus auxiliary inputs for CD and DVD sources. That still leaves plenty of inputs available for special events, like the recent production of “Beauty and the Beast” that required 24 channels of wireless.
While most of the praise team uses the Aviom personal monitor system, some still use traditional floor wedges. To simplify this process, the engineer creates and saves four wedge mixes directly from the stage during rehearsals, using a touchscreen laptop to control the iLive wirelessly.
With three different worship teams on weekends plus rehearsals and evening events during the week, it’s no surprise the Patrick Gourley points to scene save and recall as the biggest advantage of going digital. “Different engineers have different styles, and now everyone can have the channel strips laid out exactly how they like. And being able to change scenes within a service adds another dimension to what we can do.”
Allen & Heath iLive Digital Mixing System Website