Stage Control

Two rehearsals last night. One for the Sunday morning praise band and one for the Cliff Cline concert. We will also rehearse for the Cliff Cline concert this evening. We load in for our concert on Friday with soundchecks by 6pm. On Saturday, I need to finish up the remixes for Cliff’s second run of CDs. And on Sunday we resume two morning services. A busy week.

The rehearsals went well last night. My son plays bass with me and I have been very impressed with his musical development. I would like to get him up a level as he clearly has the talent and the potential to be an exceptional musician.

I also thought about our auditorium’s sound, video and lighting system and the opportunities to make more improvements. I had some email exchanges with the technical director of a mid-sized church down in Marietta, Georgia. I’ve included a picture of their sanctuary below.

Their sanctuary seats 850. This is roughly twice the seating capacity of our sanctuary. They use a portable stage although it looks like a fixed platform in the picture. The portable stage gives them flexibility to use the room in different ways.

North Metro”™s style of worship is very similar to ours: contemporary, utilizing audio, video and theatrical lighting. Their multimedia environment is more sophisticated than ours. They have two front projectors and two Dalite 9×12 side screens. A third projector is used on the back wall to project lyrics for the vocalists. They have two Apple PowerBook G4 computers running Presenter Pro to provide graphics and video support. And they have two Videonics MX-1 video mixers to superimpose graphics and text over any video source.

On the audio side, there are four SLS line array columns and four SLS dual 12 subwoofers. I would love to have a front line like that for our church. They use a Mackie 32/8 console. I do not care for the Mackie console. The Soundcraft GB-4 that we are using in our church is a better console.

They have an interesting approach to rehearsals. The instrumentalists rehearse on one evening and the vocalists rehearse on a different evening. They record the instrumental rehearsal and use the recording for the vocal rehearsal.

Their lighting rig includes an ETC Express 48/96 lighting console with 48 dimmers and ETC Source Four Pars and Ellipsoidals.

They really struggled with stage volume. They could not afford to go with in-ear monitors at first. And they were getting sound levels on stage above 100 dB. We have the same issue. The drummer can easily achieve 100 dB or more. And this creates a domino effect where everyone else needs more monitor. And, before you know it, things get out of control. Stage levels are too high and the soundfield gets muddy.

North Metro went with an Aviom monitoring system. They installed a variety of monitoring configurations. Some wedges and some in-ear. The electric guitar, vocalists and worship leader play off wedges. The keyboard player, bassist, drummer and acoustic guitar play off in-ear.

Our technical infrastructure is pretty good for a church of our size. I would love to get our folks up on a better monitoring system. North Metro experienced significant improvement in overall sound quality as the stage volume went down. Hopefully we can make some progress in this area over the coming year.

North Metro

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