The technology ministry of Gateway Church, which has eight campuses in Texas and another in Jackson Hole, WY, utilizes DiGiCo consoles at every location to help manage its wide-ranging AV needs.
Specifically, seven satellite locations all have DiGiCo SD-Range and S-Series desks, and the campus in Southlake, TX recently upgraded all three of its SD7 consoles (front of house, monitors and broadcast) with the latest Quantum7 processing just ahead of two large Christmas live productions and the annual Gateway Conference.
Founded in 2000 by pastor Robert Morris, Gateway meets as one church in many locations with more than 30,000 people attending each weekend, and it plans on continuing to open several more locations in the coming year.
“We typically plan out our strategic upgrades to be done by summer, because we know we have the events coming up in the fall and close to Christmas,” says Brandon Conn, senior audio specialist, live production. “We actually began the upgrade process with Quantum7 in February and just had the latest firmware added in September.
“With the new Stadius 32-bit mic preamps, the vocal clarity has improved dramatically, and it was very good before the Quantum7 upgrade,” he continues. “The worship pastor’s vocal presence is so transparent, it’s as though you’re standing right next to the source.” That, he adds, has practical benefits, as well. “It’s a real improvement in dynamic range on the microphones with the extra bits, so we find that we don’t have to push the pre-amps as much to achieve intelligibility, and that in turn helps with gain structure.”
Conn also notes that all consoles share the Gain Tracking feature during events, which helps insure that each has sufficient headroom while automatically optimizing trim. They also allow all monitor engineers to manage gain during the rehearsals.
Among the Quantum7 features the church has applied so far is Nodal Processing, which applies processing to any node on the auxiliary section of the console, allowing engineers to send unique processing on each send from a single or multiple channels, allowing users to tailor and deliver dedicated mixes that were not possible before. “Our monitor engineers especially like the Nodal Processing feature for how it lets them customize the mix for each group of musicians,” Conn says.
Another feature, part of the latest update to Quantum7 in 2019, is Mustard, a new set of algorithms and options for channel strip processing that offer enhanced flexibility and choice, and make full use of the Quantum engine’s new seventh-generation FPGA infrastructure. The Mustard channel can be used in conjunction with the standard SD processing to add pre-amp, filters, EQ, gate and a selection of compressor types to any existing channel strip. “We’ve had that in place for the last two months and it’s been cool to insert it on vocal channels, where it really warms up the vocals,” he says. “You really do notice the change in tone with Mustard.”
Gateway Church has a DiGiCo SD7, SD8, SD9, or SD10 in every main auditorium, and in all of its eight locations where kids worship services happen there are SD9, SD11, or S21 consoles. “Having a consistent work surface everywhere means our engineers can fill in at any location at any time,” says Conn. “It’s an easy work surface to understand and learn, and most of our operators are flying solo within three or four weeks after training. We’ve standardized to DiGiCo, and it’s been a good decision.”