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Staying Consistent

As we are in the middle of a big renovation project, I thought I would share some of the decisions we made a few weeks ago that will hopefully make things easier down the road. We’re building out a new K-3 space, a 4th-5th grade space, and a new Jr. High room. We’ll also be making a few tweaks to our student/community room, which will become geared more toward Sr. High. 

One of the values that I held in high regard was consistency of equipment. I’ve seen a lot of churches and other venues that have a mishmash of all different equipment for the same tasks. Different lighting boards, presentation switchers, mixers, speakers, etc. can make training and maintenance a real hassle. 

For our project, I was very intentional in choosing equipment. We have already settled on a lighting board in our Sr. High room, so I ordered 3 more of them for the new spaces. We’ve decided that analog audio mixers will be a better fit for our ministries in those rooms, and I chose a series of consoles from the same manufacture (three different models from two lines) that have very similar control layouts. The biggest differences are in number of inputs and outputs, as well as adding groups in the bigger rooms. However, they all look pretty much the same, except for size. 

I thought I had settled on a presentation switcher a year ago, but this this time around, we’ve had some requests from the youth ministry department to add Apple TVs for easy screen sharing and playing games and video from iPhones and iPads. The switcher I originally chose could work, but it’s not as easy. So we decided to swap out the one we bought a year ago for a new model that will be consistent throughout the whole building. Thankfully, my infrastructure won’t change (actually, that’s intentional as well). 

We’re going to be using the same kind of lighting fixtures in all rooms, as well as the same wireless mics. Ordering was really easy once we landed on things, it was basically, “Send me 3 of this, 3 of that, and 3 of that other thing.”

My reasons for this are many. First, it’s easier to train. I want to make it easy for people to move from one room to another without having to be retrained. We use a lot of volunteers and many of them don’t have a ton of experience. So we need to make it as simple for them as possible. Second, it will make it easier to build the racks and troubleshoot. Once we figure out how to put stuff together, it will go together quickly. And if something goes wrong, it will be easier to maintain a smaller list of gear. And if a body pack goes down in one room, it will be easy to pull one from another room (because they’re all in the same band.). 

Sometimes, putting a system like this together ends up costing a little big more initially, but I’ve found it pays off big time later during the equipment’s life. You’ll notice I’m not listing my equipment choices here; that’s because it doesn’t matter. I’ve chosen stuff that will work for our ministry; it may or may not work for you. At some point, I will list out what we did but for now, this is about strategy, not specifics. 

Next time around, I’ll talk about my tech booth designs. 

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