As production technology grows more sophisticated, the audio crew members at Coast Hills Community Church are finding themselves increasingly responsible for streaming productions live to the Internet or recording them to DVD.
In order to deliver high-quality audio in these scenarios, the church relies on DPA Microphones’ d:fine headset microphones and several DPA 4098H hanging supercardioid microphones.
Designed to function much like a traditional performing arts center, Coast Hills Community Church is housed in a nearly square building with seating for 1,300 worshippers.
The sanctuary has undergone minimal acoustical treatments and exhibits a lot of natural reflection, making intelligibility of the spoken word an issue.
With the front-of-house production setup situated on a balcony above and behind the parishioners, mixing and equalizing can also be a challenge.
To cope with these factors, Mike Sessler, the church’s technical arts director, employs the d:fine headset microphones. The d:fine mics ensure that Coast Hills Senior Pastor Ken Baugh always sounds natural, without producing any feedback.
The microphone requires little-to-no EQ, allowing Sessler to concentrate on other aspects of recording the sermons, such as mixing. While the audio can be improved in post production, if the EQ input is perfect right from the beginning, the resulting audio will sound much better.
“Baugh has a very distinct voice that is difficult to mic and still sound good,” explains Sessler. “Previously, we had to balance a lot of EQ to make him sound acceptable.
“With the DPA d:fines, we use very little EQ to produce his natural voice. He sounds like him, not like a processed, analyzed version of himself.”
The placement of the microphone also has an important effect on audio, making it critical to find the right position. Even slight changes to the angle or location of a microphone can result in sound that is less than harmonious.
The DPA d:fine headset features a miniature capsule that allows Sessler to position the microphone on Baugh in a spot that produces the biggest sound without losing clarity. The miniature capsule also keeps the microphone discreet, making Baugh’s voice sound loud and clear without making it look like he is wearing the mic.
“That is what I love about DPA mics,” says Sessler. “You can just put them up, or on, in the case of the d:fine, and you don’t have to do a lot of work on them. They just make the sound you’re trying to amplify louder.
“The d:fine is comfortable and sounds great without my having to do a lot of work. I am confident that I can hand Baugh the mic and that it will go in the same place every time.”
Duke DeJeong, church relations director for DPA dealer CCI Solutions, which often works with Coast Hills, says that the most critical microphone for any service is the one the pastor wears.
“As 60 percent of the service is focused on his spoken word, it is definitely not the mic to skimp on,” he notes. “The DPA d:fine ends up in the right place every time, so there are never any gain before feedback issues, and the sound is natural, loud and clear.
“In the end, it is one of the best microphones out there to use for services, especially those that are being recorded.”
While the pastor should be outfitted with the highest-quality microphone during a service, Sessler knows that other audio elements must be attended to as well. For the recordings, he relies on several DPA 4098H Hanging Supercardioid Microphones to capture the live sound of the congregation for a variety of church functions, including baptisms and large-scale musical performances.
These mics are positioned over the house to provide live ambient sound back to the musicians’ in-ear monitors, and also near the choir and musicians for both live performances and recordings. As with the d:fine, the 4098H provides the clear, natural sound important to capturing a musical performance.
“DPA Microphones has earned a reputation for exceptional clarity, high resolution and, above all, pure, uncolored and accurate sound,” concludes Sessler. “Whether recording or producing sound reinforcement for theatrical or broadcast productions, DPA’s microphones have become the choice of professionals who demand sonic excellence.”
The church also relies on the DPA’s d:vote 4099 Instrument Microphones to pick up audio from its worship band.