Regina Victory Church, a contemporary Christian church in Regina, Saskatchewan (Canada) that features six musicians and five vocalists during worship services, recently replaced its analog console with a new Yamaha M7CL-48ES EtherSound-based digital console, courtesy of GV Audio, also located in Regina.
“The church’s console was starting to show its age and needing much service work,” states Derek Gould, at GV Audio. “The console and snake both had issues, so it seemed logical to address both at the same time.”
Regina Victory Church is also looking to move to a new, larger building, and the new Yamaha M7CL will move along to the new facility as well. Gould said he loaned Regina Victory Church a Yamaha LS9-32 for a week and then had them try an M7CL-48. “After they tried the M7, there was no going back; they loved it. The entire congregation and worship team noticed the difference immediately when they went from analog to digital.”
“As lead sound engineer for Regina Victory Church, the decision of what console to upgrade to ultimately fell to me,” states Jamie Brost. “It was a long term project, and I wanted to make sure that whatever board we chose would be the right one for years to come. Our church is achieving amazing growth with a strong vision to reach out to all people.
“Victory Today, our TV program, began airing on the Miracle Channel in 2009 with a very small budget and a lot of great volunteers. Cory Maclean, the head of RVC’s video department, was able to work with the Miracle Channel to produce our show, but as the audio team, I felt that we could and should do more to enhance the audio.”
“In my mind, ‘going digital’ was the only thing that would give us the ability to meet the needs of our church,” Brost continues. “With a volunteer crew, the ability to start with known good settings is essential. This, combined with the ease of use and familiarity the M7CL shares with their analog (non-digital) predecessors, put the M7CL-48ES at the top of my list. The decision to purchase the M7CL-48ES was partly due to existing needs, but what really made the final decision was where the church was heading in the future.
“We have talented musicians who were already talking about recording songs and pushing their talent farther, so we needed a system that would help them reach their full potential. I think the ease of multi-track recording with the M7CL-48ES is probably one of its greatly overlooked features. Not only will we be able to help the musicians be their best and record their songs, but we’ll also be able to use the recordings for sound engineer training.
“Another reason I strongly endorsed the M7CL-48ES was the level of adoption the M7CL has garnered in the sound industry. There are other boards with comparable features, but I felt uncomfortable using a board that wasn’t considered an industry standard. I knew Yamaha was a great company with a great reputation and was, therefore, the obvious first choice.”
Another great value to the system, notes Brost, is the ability to use an iPad to mix. “As with many churches, our console is not situated in the ideal position for mixing, and the iPad gives us the flexibility to make changes right in the seats of the congregation. We can also stand in front of the TVs in the basement and properly mix the signal. I cannot praise the Yamaha StageMix app enough and look forward to the great features that will no doubt be added over time. In my opinion, StageMix has become the future we’ve been anticipating for mixing monitors and front of house sound.”
RVC’s sound department has fairly large demands placed on it. They deliver an audio feed to the building’s flat-panel TVs, audio recording device, video cameras, monitors, and the main speakers. Every end-point has different requirements for the audio, which means that the sound department has to create a suitable mix for each.
“Before the Yamaha M7CL-48ES, we had a hodgepodge system of wiring trying to split the audio feeds,” says Brost. “Diagnosing any audio problem was a weekly occurrence and a headache for the entire team. Also, we did not have any equipment normally seen in a system to do what we needed. We had no compressors, gates, or dedicated recorders. We only had one EQ rack used for front of house sound, and even that was giving me grief in the end.”
Now that RVC has used the M7CL-48ES for a few months, Brost said that the church is extremely pleased with the purchase. “The weekly sound issues are gone, the sound quality gets progressively better, and the volunteer crew almost always finishes a service with a smile. Sure, tweaks are always requested, but what is the most pleasing to me is the foundation we’ve set for audio quality. No longer do we go week to week eliminating feedback, trying in vain to make the vocals discernable, or scratching our heads as to why things are so different from the previous week. We just turn on the console, recall the last saved settings, and go.”