Equipment List

Since I've received several comments on recent posts that start with, "Is that a [fill in the blank]?," I thought I'd run down the list of  equipment we put in our new worship space. Almost all of it is new, since we came from another church that had a pretty complete, though not very good, A/V system installed. We came into the new space with a few DIs, some mics and an Expression 3 light board. So we pretty much started from scratch.

I had hoped to be a lot more involved in the exact gear selection, but for a whole variety of reasons, our consultant/installer put together the list of gear and we went with it. To be fair, the budget was far too small, and the timeline way too tight to do much more with it than he did. With a few exceptions, most of the selections are fine, and many of my exceptions come down to preference. I say that only to stave off comments that begin with, "Why did you choose [fill in the blank]? What lead you to that?" I'm playing the hand I was dealt; and for the most part, it's not a bad hand.

Overall the system works quite well. As I've said before, the sound is significantly better than anyone expected. The lighting is pretty cool, and doesn't blow the whopping two 20A circuits we had available for lighting (that's right, we have 40A for lighting the entire sanctuary!). Video is fine, though I'm hoping we can get screens someday. Right now we're projecting on off-white walls that are made from vertically oriented 1x4's. Some find the vertical lines in the video artsy. I find it irritating, but that's me. The downside of screens is that they would look totally out of place for the other church that actually owns the building.

So without further adieu or qualifiers, here's our list of gear:



FOH

  • Yamaha 01V 96 VCM console
  • Presonus Digimax 96 external preamp (hopefully going back soon for another model)
  • (2) Shure UXLP Wireless mics (with a third coming soon)
  • Various laptops running Studio Manager
  • Furman Power Conditioner

Speakers

  • Mains: Renkus Heinz CFX121 (2)
  • Delay/Fill: Renkus Heinz CFX61 (3)
  • Subs: EAW FR250z (2)
  • Amps: QSC PLX2502 (3); Crown MacroTec 1200 (1) we scored the Crown from our parent church--they weren't using it
  • Processing: Biamp Nexia SP
  • Furman Power Conditioning

Mics and Monitors

  • Vocals: Shure Beta 58 (3)
  • Drums: Kick--Heil PR-40; Snare Bottom--Rode NT-5; Snare Top--Shure SM57; Hat--Rode NT-5; Toms--EV N/D 408 (2); Cymballs--AKG Perception 170 (2)
  • Guitar Cab: EV 906 or Shure Beta 57 (the guitar players bring their own)
  • Aviom Personal Mixers for band
  • Aviom A-16D Pro distro
  • Shure SLC-5 in-ear monitors

Lighting

  • Console: ETC Expression 3 w/ dual VGA display (we owned this already)
  • Elation DMX Branch/4 opto splitter
  • Elation Design Spot 250 moving head lights (2)
  • Color Kinetics Color Blast 12 (7)
  • Color Kinetics Color Blast 6 (10)
  • Color Kinetics 150W Power Supplies (4)
  • Wall Washes: 26" (8) 39" (3) Tri-color LED fixtures (can't come up with a brand/model yet)

Video

  • iMac 20" 2.66 running ProPresenter
  • BenQ SP820 4,000 Lumen Projectors (3)
  • Kramer VP-400N 1x4 VGA DA

Aside from a few thousand feet of cable, that's pretty much it. I'll be writing more detailed thoughts on specific pieces of gear in coming weeks and months as we have more time with it, but here are some initial thoughts.

The 01V is a nice little console, little being the operative word. It packs a lot of power into 19", but with only 16 faders (plus a master), you do a lot of layer switching. Even setting up aux sends or effects requires a layer change. The only rotary encoders are for EQ. Running Studio Manager with it is pretty much mandatory. My biggest concern is lack of inputs. With only 26 input points, we're going to run out. Then we'll have to sub-mix, which I'm not crazy about.

I'm a fan of the Avioms, though I still contend the A-16D Pro is a waste of money. The regular A-16 does the same thing (sans Ethercons); though it does require the use of each of the personal mixer's power supplies to send power. Still I don't find the $850 price premium worth it.

The Presonus Digimax hasn't blown me away so far. It's expensive, and hasn't clocked properly to the board. I think we'll send it back for another model and use the change toward another channel of wireless. I do like the pretty, anodized blue knobs, though.

I'm quite happy with the Renkus speakers. They sound musical, and have plenty of intelligibility--something we were horribly lacking in our last space. With a few tweaks to the EQ this weekend, we should have them dialed in nicely. The EV subs sound good, if not a little muddy right now. In the next few weeks, we'll be changing back to Aux fed subs and using them just for low end punch. Hopefully, that will clean them up.

The ColorBlast lights are solid. They start to run out of steam after about 15', and we've have a lot of ours at 25'. We get away with it because our overall look is dimly lit and vibey. I do like that they get brighter as color saturation grows. I'm a huge fan of additive (rather than subtractive) color mixing. They do create some great looks on the band.

The Design Spot 250 is also reasonably bright, even with most of the colors on the color gobo (the deep red really cuts the output, however). It has a decent selection of gobos and effects, runs quiet and moves pretty quickly. For the price (around $1,800), it's an excellent value. The light output matches the LED's closely--a 575 might have been too much.

The BenQ projectors look surprisingly good (except the center one, which is either defective or we have a bad cable--haven't figured out which yet). At the price ($1,200 or so), they're a steal. I can't help thinking that they're going to end up being disposable, though. I'll be interested to see how long they last. I haven't run a full calibration on them yet, and will report back when I do.

So that's kind of where we are. Over the next few weeks and months, we'll be building some custom cables and interfaces; tweaking EQ and settings on the Nexia; and coming up with faster ways to set up and tear down. I'll keep you posted on all that. I'll also post some details on our drum condo, which worked far better than my expectations.

More to come…