Console Install

What better time to install a console than during the Christmas holidays.

I had performed an assessment of a fixed location sound system at my home church. Like many churches, the sound system just happened over time. Not much thought given to longer term requirements for sound nor much thought given to the ability to effectively present sound in a variety of styles. This system was adequate for very traditional activities — spoken word, choir and organ — but not suitable for more complex applications such as contemporary worship and multimedia delivery.

I have done a number of assessments like this one over the years. And generally they pretty much turn out the same. Aging and obsolete equipment that needs to be upgraded. Proper acoustic measurements that need to be taken to appropriately specify loudspeaker arrays and the requisite outboard. Monitoring systems that need to be either introduced or upgraded.

Back to the console install.

I specified an Allen and Heath GL2400 32-channel board similar to the one pictured here. This was an appropriate recommendation given the size of the church and its budget.

The installation should have been quite straightforward as we were not changing anything else at this time. Notate and disconnect the existing input/output. Remove old console. Insert new console. Reconnect input/output. Test.

This photo shows one reason why it was time to upgrade the console.

The old Mackie board had been in use for a long time and it was well past its expiry date. Channels had started to fail and the time had come to upgrade this particular device.

What took almost 4 hours of effort had very little to do with the actual console replacement. It was sorting through this:

I have seen some interesting cable plants in my time. I have never seen anything quite like this. Although you cannot see it in this picture, buried underneath all of the cables were things like an active power bar, dozens of pens, masking tape labels that had come loose from the cables, unused cables, unmarked cables, dozens of unused adapters.

Uh oh.

It took a couple of hours just to untangle and sort through the cables. And then, because many of them had not been labeled, many of the lines had to be traced. Unfortunately, several of the lines went to another closet which was just as chaotic. I had not allocated two days of effort to sort and clean up the cable plant so I stayed focused on the existing console install. The outboard closet will have to be dealt with another day.

After 6 hours, the new board was up and running. The cable plant behind the board is now properly tied and dressed and everything is labeled — and not with masking tape.

It took much longer than expected but the new console will provide many years of service and at least the installation and cable dressing was done well.

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