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  #1  
Old 03-30-2003, 01:23 PM
SPC SPC is offline
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Default small Church set up questions ...

Hi,

I am a “post production” engineer who is seeking to help my church out with their “live sound” issues. We are very close to purchasing several pieces of equipement that I am familiar with but lack the “live mixing” pros and cons of the equipement’s track record … (since I have specialized in radio, television and music “studio mixing" for the past 10 years).

1- we are getting the Mackie 24x4 VLZ Pro mixer for it’s ease of use and most of all the cost. Any other reccomendations along this line?

2- the head of the sound ministry has found what seems to be a great deal on 3 Sennhieser Dynamic mics (all for $199). My experience is only with expensive U87’s, 414’s, and other expensive studio mics. Any good live sound mics you can recommend with a proven track record for a small/medium sized church?

3- I also love to add a splash of reverb and occasionaly a touch of delay as the leads sing. Any good, basic, inexpensive outboard delay and reverb units that have worked well with live sound?

4- Lastly, any good “live sound” practices that may help us such as

* Compressing the 2 mix
* Monitors, mics and speaker positioning to stop “feedback issues” and stop "P" poping, etc …


Thanks a lot,
SPC
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  #2  
Old 03-30-2003, 04:00 PM
BradLyons BradLyons is offline
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Default Re: small Church set up questions ...

SPC,

I'm actually the Technical Director at my church so I'm sure I could help..... hey, I do more than just sell this stuff!!! There are many factors to look at first.... HOW big is the church, what kind of worship services are there, wll there be multi-track recording, what instrumentation is being used, etc. Our services are very contemporary and include the following instrumentation: AT Least (2) Keyboardist and sometimes (3)... (2) Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass Guitar, 3-piece Brass Section, Full Drum Kit (well, now it's Vdrums for sound reasons), sometimes Flute and Viola, up to (12) vocalists, and up to a 30-person worship choir.

I'm using an Allen & Heath GL3300 40-ch console with 8-bus outs and an 8x2 matrix section. I actually bought this about 2 years ago upgrading from a Mackie 24x4 that you mention The Mackie is a good little mixer if your needs are very basic. There really aren't direct outs on the Mackie nor is it a good option for any kind of multi-track recording. My A&H gives me (4) mute groups, (8) auxs assignable in Pre/Post in groups of (4), a Matrix section which is great for creating mixes to go to the hallway, nursery, etc. Above all, the board just sounds great! I'm actually selling it for a Soundcraft Series II console as it has a few more bells and whistles I need for my live recording needs. IF you only need the basic PA stuff, the Mackie SR24x4 will be just fine. Depending on budget, you might want to strongly consider an Allen & HEath GL2200 or a Spirit LX7. These boards are about $1000 or so more but they just sound so much better!

When you say (3) Sennheisers for $199, what brand are these? I have to tell you that in a contemporary church environment, feedback and sound control are big issues. I just installed a very nice setup into a church about 30 minutes north of me last weekend and they have Shure SM58's which are okay, but they just aren't any good for eliminating feedback. I strongly suggest something like Beyer Dynamic Opus 81's or GOOD Sennheiser microphones.

Speaking of monitors, can they afford in-ear monitors or do they want to go with typical stage monitor setups? In-ears are more money, but oh I love using them as the sound engineer! I really am a big fan of the Yamaha SM115 (I can't remember the exact model, sorry) and am using Mackie M1400's for the amps. I'm using a stack of Crown K2's for my mains which are hanging mains with hanging subs on the left and right (in stereo). I have full-range speakers in the center at the front and in the middle for a total of (4) here strictly for vocals. I run the vocals dry here and return the reverbs into channels and pan them into the mains to not only make the vocals sound larger, but also clearer. I'm using (I'm ashamed to admit this) an Alesis Wedge and a Q20. With my coming upgrade, I will be getting a pair of TC M2000's.

There are MANY ways to go here, it totally depends on the needs. One thing I can tell you from designing so many live and recording systems around the country for both small and massive churches, YOU NEED TO GET WHAT YOU THINK YOU DON'T NEED. What I mean is, they (my own included) don't realize how expensive this stuff can be and, quite honestly, why they really need it. I often buy my own equipment for not only my needs outside of what I can convince them to spend, but also as a means to learn products for my clients.... I often take new products into the church every week to try them out so in that case, I am fortunate. Obviously, you won't be..... so the key is to get what they need for their ministry long-term. Do they have any plans for recording? If so, scrap the Mackie.

Aside from this stuff.... TWO pieces that are absolutely imperative they get no matter what. The first one is at least one DBX DriveRack PA. I am getting ready to pick up (3) of these. These are single-space rackmount processors that have Subharmonic synthesis, crossover, feedback elimination, RTA, Parametric and Graphic, etc and a few other tools all for $499!! It's truly one of the best pieces to hit the small PA market in years. The other product is the Alesis Masterlink. This allows me to at least record everything live down to 2-track live. When I record multi-track, I'm doing it to a MOTU 24I/O into Nuendo which I later bring back and mix in my HD2 system with a Control24. But if I don't feel like multi-tracking, I can at least record stereo digitally and then create a CD right there. Even if that isn't in the plans, it's GREAT for recording the sermon digitally and have a CD printed. I also have an Orbit2 duplicator so I have CD's ready by the second service of the morning.

To give you an idea of the Masterlink, here is a live recording I did two weeks ago. This is NOT mixed or mastered, only what was done live and how it was heard in the house but it gives you an idea.

www.audioandmidi.com/OnlyAGodLIVE.mp3

You can also check out this other link. This was recorded direct into ProTools, mixed, and mastered but started out from some live tracks:

www.audioandmidi.com/MoreOfYouLord.mp3
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  #3  
Old 03-31-2003, 03:18 PM
c zarkos c zarkos is offline
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Default Re: small Church set up questions ...

Please do yourself a favor and try to check out the Midas venice series console .....More money but worth it an all accounts. Great pre's, great eq.
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  #4  
Old 03-31-2003, 04:59 PM
BradLyons BradLyons is offline
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Default Re: small Church set up questions ...

I'M NOT GONNA PAY A LOT FOR THIS MUFFLER!!!!!!

sorry, couldn't resist
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  #5  
Old 03-31-2003, 05:22 PM
doug_hti doug_hti is offline
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Default Re: small Church set up questions ...

don't get the mackie, please don't get the mackie, for goodness sakes, don't get the mackie.

The Allen and Heath or Soundcraft are better, even the non VCA models.
I haven't used the Venice, but I WOULD DEFINATELY look into it. I use Heritages lots and love Midas boards, IMO, there is nothing close.
If you guys get the Mackie, plan on upgrading in the near future. I think they can be fine in a project studio, but for live situations, the faders are horrible and for some reason, over time, there seems to be an issue with cross talk in the auxes.

For mics. Pick up sm58s and beta 87s if you have the budget, as well as some 57s. Brad, sorry I have to disagree about the 58s. I think these are the best to use in general, as long as the people are instructed to talk directly into them. Tune the house and you won't have any problem with feedback and teach the techs how to ring a mic out if need be. Don't buy a "feedback eleminator". Just make sure you have a graphic EQ for the amp rack (ashley's are good value), and another Graphic at the console area in which you can make additional changes if needed, but when that one is set flat, the house is where it was. I hardly ever run a "flat" house, cause it usually doesn't sound as good, but it's usually a good starting point.

For cheap EFX, I would get a TC M-One and a TC D-Two. The M-One reverbs actually have better algos then the m2000 (a more dated unit), so unless you want to step up to a mpx1 or m3000, for a budget system, it's tough to beat the M-One. The MPX500 is fine too. But the D-Two is a given on guitars and voxes.

For dynamics, a cheap way to go, is a Presonus ACP88. They are fine in low end sound systems. The composers are that bad either on some instruments. But don't get the the cheaper dbx comps (166, 266, 1046)...but If you can afford a couple 160s, they are great.
I agree with brad about the dbx driverack. Good bargain unit again.

For monitoring in a small venue, I wouldn't shun the portable powered JBLs or Mackies. These tend te be much easier to deal with in moving and (lack of) installation, and for the money I think they sound the best...
I don't think in ears are a good idea unless you have great techs around, which translates to I don't think it's a good idea. They can be great but when you're dealing with mackie mixers and cheap efx, etc. the cost is way too much to set up properly, as I run in ears frequently and I never run ears without a limiter (preferably multiband like a dominator II or finalizer, which are a $1k a pop)...

For Speakers, try to at least get a three way system, with a way to upgrade to a four-way later (adding subs) There is some cheap stuff out there now days. Like the EAW LA series. I don't know about EV's mid level line, but their upper end has gotten better recently. The low end stuff has been horrible in my small experience with it.
And don't let the installer fly the speakers in some awful manner beaming straight down from 1500ft up, behind the stage.

Good luck...
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  #6  
Old 03-31-2003, 07:44 PM
RobMacki RobMacki is offline
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Default Re: small Church set up questions ...

EAWs, Beata 87s are the way to go. Mackie 4 bus is ok but just ok.
But It will sound like mud unless you have someone who knows how to mix well for live worship.

[img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
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  #7  
Old 03-31-2003, 07:50 PM
RobMacki RobMacki is offline
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Default Re: small Church set up questions ...

If your budget will not allow for the EAWs the powered Mackies are a good bang for the buck. Still get the Beata 87s and a good sound man. Feel free to contact me email.
Worship leader 20+ yrs
Oversee sound 20+ yrs
Currently one of the worship leaders at the Applegate Christian Fellowship
rmacki@charter.net
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  #8  
Old 04-01-2003, 03:34 AM
BradLyons BradLyons is offline
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Default Re: small Church set up questions ...

I'm going to try and get some pictures of my church posted up here.... it looks more like a studio than anything else, but it's a good example of the contemporary church of today.
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  #9  
Old 04-01-2003, 06:21 PM
doug_hti doug_hti is offline
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Default Re: small Church set up questions ...

Quote:
Originally posted by RobMacki:
If your budget will not allow for the EAWs the powered Mackies are a good bang for the buck.
<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I'd say get EAWs as the mains AND powered mackies or jbls for monitors. This will also save on lots of money and hassle from the install on wiring up a monitor amp rack, and the noise floor will tend to be less since you are getting a balanced signal all the way up to the speakers from the jacks on the stage or the drop box. I also think the reliability is better. It's also easier to get straight to the problems.
And again, I'm speaking from the standpoint of getting the best bang for your buck and price/performance ratio.
I wouldn't bother getting unpowered floor monitors unless I could have high quality biamped wedges that have a lot of clean power to offer, which is very expensive. And that wouldn't be the first on my list when there is potentially a mackie console in the back with limited dynamics, efx, drive system, and backline available.
I've seen a LOT of churces put in money into things and for install labor that shouldn't have been a priority when there is so much they're lacking in the chain.
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  #10  
Old 04-01-2003, 06:55 PM
RobMacki RobMacki is offline
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Default Re: small Church set up questions ...

Doug
I totally agree.
But if a small church has a budget of under 10k the EAWs will eat up alot of that. Also I know of a church here in my area that bought EAWs and have ground loop and RF problems. And they don't have anyone who can mix well.
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