West Shore Evangelical Free Church – Mechanicsburg, PA
Spire AVL designed and replaced the previous audio console PM1D, CS1D and associated equipment racks with an Allen and Heath dLive S7000 digital audio console and appropriate I/O cages. The system now uses GigaACE and a redundant DANTE network for near latency free, digital audio transmission. The system is comprised of (3) DX32 I/O boxes and a single DM64 mix-rack. This gives full functionality of all previously installed inputs on stage, in the catwalk and at FOH eliminating the need to “hard patch” inputs for specific uses. This method previously caused confusion for volunteers and staff alike. With the placement of the digital I/O boxed near each group of inputs and outputs, audio quality was maximized by minimizing analog cable lengths. Spire’s design called for a single DM64 and a single DX32 to be placed under the stage in the Amp Room. Another DX32 was installed in the catwalk to make use of the mic inputs there as well as a DX32 at FOH (Front of House) for additional I/O as required by wireless mics, audio players, computer audio and camera audio. To maintain a digital signal throughout the design, DANTE cards for the current NXAMP4X4 amps and the Behringer X32 (located in the recording studio) were specified. With the removal of the analog patch bays and input cages in the rack room, the only means of recording audio in the studio is now via the DANTE network. The DANTE network has a redundant line for automatic failover and is built on Cisco SG300 10-port switches which will allow for future expansion through out the building. This is a vast improvement over the previous analog patch bays by allowing the recording engineer to select from any audio channels on the network without assistance from the FOH engineer in the Sanctuary. The recording quality has improved by not having the long analog cable lengths and noise added by aging patch bays.
Consultant, Arthur Yeap and Spire worked together to ensure that the room received proper audio coverage as well via a Nexo Geo line-array system. The four main loudspeaker arrays for the space consist of Nexo Geo S1210s over a Geo S1230. The delay row for the upper mezzanine is covered using the Nexo PS-15 R2 loudspeakers. The subarray consists of two Nexo CD-18 cardioid subs. The NXAMP4X4s were used because of their DANTE capability and because of their pairing characteristics with the Geo series from Nexo.
To replace the outdated and worn out Aviom In-Ear monitors, the Allen and Heath ME-1 In-Ear monitors were specified and installed. These provide vastly improved audio clarity and an incredible functionality boost by moving from a current maximum of 16 channels available through Aviom to an impressive 40 channels per In-Ear monitor provided by the ME-1. This allows virtually every instrument and vocalist on stage to have a channel designated to them freeing up the FOH engineer from having to group channels together such as the drums or multi tracks in order to fit them into the currently available 16 channels. The channels are also labeled on the ME-1s from the console, so there is no confusion about who is on which channel.
Spire stands behind this design, not just as the most effective and flexible design for WSEFC’s current needs but for their future growth as well. This system was designed to be easily expanded into other rooms such as the multi-purpose spaces, gym, or youth areas. As an example designs were provided for upgrading the audio in both the youth and kids spaces. These systems will be tied back into the DANTE network allowing any of these venues to become an immediate overflow room if the need arises. In a matter of moments, any venue could be digitally patched to share the main feeds from the sanctuary. The designs for both youth spaces however, go beyond just improving the ease of use and functionality of the audio. By adding QSC’s Core 110F into the system, we are able to open up entirely new possibilities to streamline the technology in these spaces. With Q-Sys, we can setup presets that will control the projectors, lighting and even the video switchers. Using only a single button, a staff member or volunteer could have the projectors turn on, the sound system boot up and the video switcher change to the appropriate video feed for whatever event the preset has been designed for.
The most valuable asset for a church’s future is its youth. We wanted to start investing in that future and the future tech volunteers by making the transition from Youth tech to sanctuary tech as seamless as possible. The most effect way to start is by standardizing the audio consoles in both venues. For that reason, we laid the foundation and in the future will be using the dLive S3000 console for the youth space. This will provide a familiar board for any sanctuary volunteers that offer to run events held in the youth space, as well as give youth involved in the tech team four years experience with the same console they will see in the sanctuary. This primes young volunteers for continued involvement in the tech ministry as they grow by removing a learning curve barrier that is currently in place.
The Multi-Purpose room is another good example of this systems easily expandable nature. With our proposed future update of the Multi-Purpose Room, setting it up as an overflow room could be done in a matter of seconds. With the single push of a button, every screen could drop, projectors be turned on and set to the correct inputs and audio immediately brought directly from the DANTE network into the Multi-Purpose Room’s audio system. For the more frequent uses, such as Sunday morning fellowship, a preset could be provided that would allow any participant or volunteer to have the room reset for the specific needs for that room. Beyond that, the rooms could even be controlled by a desktop computer located elsewhere on the property allowing a single volunteer the ability to setup every room in between services without every needing to leave their position in the Sanctuary or other area of responsibility.
We believe a good design is one that can continue to meet the Church’s needs as it grows, without having to replace outgrown equipment along the way. This system was designed to be built one block at a time as requirements change and goals expand. We’re proud to say this design has truly been considered fully and completely not just for today but for the next ten years and beyond.