Old Production Takes From an Old Guy

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 1×4’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 1×4 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…

22 Comments

  1. tsbayne@gmail.com

    Any way we could see a pic of the set? With the lights and video working? Just curious what all that stuff looks like when you put it all together.

  2. tsbayne@gmail.com

    Any way we could see a pic of the set? With the lights and video working? Just curious what all that stuff looks like when you put it all together.

  3. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Shellie–Here are some pictures from our first service. You can get a fairly good idea of what things look like from these.
    http://www.churchtecharts.org/archives/757

  4. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Shellie–Here are some pictures from our first service. You can get a fairly good idea of what things look like from these.
    http://www.churchtecharts.org/archives/757

  5. phillipgibb@gmail.com

    Niiice list,

    I hope more to come means some more detail on Video πŸ˜‰

    How big are the screens that you project onto with the BenQ SP820’s?

    Phill

  6. phillipgibb@gmail.com

    Niiice list,

    I hope more to come means some more detail on Video πŸ˜‰

    How big are the screens that you project onto with the BenQ SP820’s?

    Phill

  7. harry@soulinprocess.com

    We have a DM1000 with 3 Presonus Digimax LT’s, and they have been working quite well. It took a little bit to get used to the automatic 10 dB gain, and the lack of protection limiters means that we have to watch the gain a bit more, but they are rock-solid on the clock, with using the DM1k for the master.

    I can understand the frustration with the layers on the 01V. The DM1k is similar, but you have a choice with using the channel encoders for aux, pan, or input selection, and it’s easy to flip between. Generally, our team has settled on using the faders for monitor mixes – we run monitors from FOH.

  8. harry@soulinprocess.com

    We have a DM1000 with 3 Presonus Digimax LT’s, and they have been working quite well. It took a little bit to get used to the automatic 10 dB gain, and the lack of protection limiters means that we have to watch the gain a bit more, but they are rock-solid on the clock, with using the DM1k for the master.

    I can understand the frustration with the layers on the 01V. The DM1k is similar, but you have a choice with using the channel encoders for aux, pan, or input selection, and it’s easy to flip between. Generally, our team has settled on using the faders for monitor mixes – we run monitors from FOH.

  9. andy@andrewc.info

    Hey, were looking for ideas for a in-ear monitor system for our church and I was looking at the Aviom system but I don’t entirely understand how they work and what we would need to be able to use them, Any input would help thanks!

  10. andy@andrewc.info

    Hey, were looking for ideas for a in-ear monitor system for our church and I was looking at the Aviom system but I don’t entirely understand how they work and what we would need to be able to use them, Any input would help thanks!

  11. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Andrew–
    I’ve written quite a lot about the Aviom system on the blog here already (do a search for Aviom), but here are the basics.

    First, you need an input module. If you’re using an analog console, you’ll likely use an A-16i line input module. It takes 16 line outputs–typically direct outs, though you can also use Auxes for combining multiple channels to a single Aviom channel–and turns them into a digital signal that runs down a Cat-5 cable to the stage. Once you get to the stage, you can daisy chain the signal from personal mixer to personal mixer (the A-16II). Each musician gets their own personal mixer and they control their own mix of the 16 channels. The daisy chain system makes for a messy stage, so I like to use a 1×8 distribution switch, the A-16 D (not the Pro model, it’s not worth the extra $800). Then you get audio and power over a single Cat-5.

    If you’re using a Yamaha digital mixer, you can get a MY- card (AVIOM16/O-Y1) that will do the same thing as the input module but keeps the signal digital all the way to the personal mixers. And you don’t need to tie up a bunch of outputs.

    That’s the basic overview. BTW, the best place to buy Aviom gear is http://www.northernsound.net“ rel=”nofollow”>Northern Sound & Light. I don’t benefit from telling you that, but I’ve been buying stuff from them for years, and they beat everyone’s price by a lot. As in hundreds of dollars. You’ll easily save $500 on a system buying from them.

    Hope that helps!
    mike

  12. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Andrew–
    I’ve written quite a lot about the Aviom system on the blog here already (do a search for Aviom), but here are the basics.

    First, you need an input module. If you’re using an analog console, you’ll likely use an A-16i line input module. It takes 16 line outputs–typically direct outs, though you can also use Auxes for combining multiple channels to a single Aviom channel–and turns them into a digital signal that runs down a Cat-5 cable to the stage. Once you get to the stage, you can daisy chain the signal from personal mixer to personal mixer (the A-16II). Each musician gets their own personal mixer and they control their own mix of the 16 channels. The daisy chain system makes for a messy stage, so I like to use a 1×8 distribution switch, the A-16 D (not the Pro model, it’s not worth the extra $800). Then you get audio and power over a single Cat-5.

    If you’re using a Yamaha digital mixer, you can get a MY- card (AVIOM16/O-Y1) that will do the same thing as the input module but keeps the signal digital all the way to the personal mixers. And you don’t need to tie up a bunch of outputs.

    That’s the basic overview. BTW, the best place to buy Aviom gear is http://www.northernsound.net“ rel=”nofollow”>Northern Sound & Light. I don’t benefit from telling you that, but I’ve been buying stuff from them for years, and they beat everyone’s price by a lot. As in hundreds of dollars. You’ll easily save $500 on a system buying from them.

    Hope that helps!
    mike

  13. andy@andrewc.info

    Thanks a bunch Mike,

    That was a great help!!

  14. andy@andrewc.info

    Thanks a bunch Mike,

    That was a great help!!

  15. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Phil–You know, I’m not really sure. We have spots in the wall where they fit, but I’ve never measured them. I’ll have to do that this week when I’m over there…

  16. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Phil–You know, I’m not really sure. We have spots in the wall where they fit, but I’ve never measured them. I’ll have to do that this week when I’m over there…

  17. harry@soulinprocess.com

    I thought of something that might help your setup with the Presonus. The internal termination of word clock isn’t that good – you might want to try putting a terminator on the chain. I remembered that we had to do that to eliminate clock jitter on the last two units in our chain.

  18. harry@soulinprocess.com

    I thought of something that might help your setup with the Presonus. The internal termination of word clock isn’t that good – you might want to try putting a terminator on the chain. I remembered that we had to do that to eliminate clock jitter on the last two units in our chain.

  19. patrick.sprague@mac.com

    Totally practical question for you…

    How do you calculate your power needs (breaker-wise) for your lights?

    We’re preparing for a move, and for the life of me, I can’t remember how to calculate what our power needs are.

    Any help?

  20. patrick.sprague@mac.com

    Totally practical question for you…

    How do you calculate your power needs (breaker-wise) for your lights?

    We’re preparing for a move, and for the life of me, I can’t remember how to calculate what our power needs are.

    Any help?

  21. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Patrick–Calculating power needs is pretty straightforward. Most equipment spec sheets will list the amp draw of any particular device. For example, a moving light might be rated at 6A (amps). If you have 9 of them, you need (2) 30A circuits–you can only get four of them safely on a single 30. You might think you can get 5 on there, but for design purposes you plan for a 80% load of the rated capacity. So in the case of a 30A circuit, you don’t load it beyond 24A.

    If a fixture doesn’t list the amp draw, it’s easy to figure out. A 750W (watt) ellipsoidal spot will draw 6.25A. The formula is this: Watts/Voltage=Amps. So to calculate your total amperage draw, you add up all the fixtures you’ll use, and that’s your current need.

    Let’s say for the sake of illustration that you have (30) 750W conventional fixtures and (6) moving lights that draw 6A each. That adds up to 223.5 amps. Factor in a 20% safety factor and you need about 280A. So, (9) 30A circuits would almost get the job done. However, it’s always cheaper and easier to pull wire before you’re moved in, so I would plan on at least 10, if not 12-15. That would mean you’re looking at a 400A service panel, so you might as well pull the wire.

    Of course, you also need to load-balance the draw across the 2 legs of power, and your electrician can help you with that. The aforementioned calculations don’t take into effect dimming losses, however. You’ll need to look at the specs on the dimmers and find out what they draw, and what they deliver.

    For example, a 2400W (watt) dimmer will handle (3) 750W fixtures, and draw 20A. If you have 30 fixtures, you need 10 dimmers, plus additional circuits for the moving lights.

    Hopefully that makes sense, and I haven’t over-complicated the issue. One thing I always tell people is to plan for more capacity than you need right now. You’ll always appreciate the ability to add more lights down the road. It’s a lot harder to add fixtures if you skimped and put in a 200A panel at the start. Putting in a 300A or even a 400A might not be that much more (maybe 30-50% more now), but will cost you an arm and a leg if you do it later–especially since you’ll get no credit for the 200A panel you’ll take out (which you already paid for).

    Hope it helps!
    mike

  22. mike@churchtecharts.org

    Patrick–Calculating power needs is pretty straightforward. Most equipment spec sheets will list the amp draw of any particular device. For example, a moving light might be rated at 6A (amps). If you have 9 of them, you need (2) 30A circuits–you can only get four of them safely on a single 30. You might think you can get 5 on there, but for design purposes you plan for a 80% load of the rated capacity. So in the case of a 30A circuit, you don’t load it beyond 24A.

    If a fixture doesn’t list the amp draw, it’s easy to figure out. A 750W (watt) ellipsoidal spot will draw 6.25A. The formula is this: Watts/Voltage=Amps. So to calculate your total amperage draw, you add up all the fixtures you’ll use, and that’s your current need.

    Let’s say for the sake of illustration that you have (30) 750W conventional fixtures and (6) moving lights that draw 6A each. That adds up to 223.5 amps. Factor in a 20% safety factor and you need about 280A. So, (9) 30A circuits would almost get the job done. However, it’s always cheaper and easier to pull wire before you’re moved in, so I would plan on at least 10, if not 12-15. That would mean you’re looking at a 400A service panel, so you might as well pull the wire.

    Of course, you also need to load-balance the draw across the 2 legs of power, and your electrician can help you with that. The aforementioned calculations don’t take into effect dimming losses, however. You’ll need to look at the specs on the dimmers and find out what they draw, and what they deliver.

    For example, a 2400W (watt) dimmer will handle (3) 750W fixtures, and draw 20A. If you have 30 fixtures, you need 10 dimmers, plus additional circuits for the moving lights.

    Hopefully that makes sense, and I haven’t over-complicated the issue. One thing I always tell people is to plan for more capacity than you need right now. You’ll always appreciate the ability to add more lights down the road. It’s a lot harder to add fixtures if you skimped and put in a 200A panel at the start. Putting in a 300A or even a 400A might not be that much more (maybe 30-50% more now), but will cost you an arm and a leg if you do it later–especially since you’ll get no credit for the 200A panel you’ll take out (which you already paid for).

    Hope it helps!
    mike

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