For the Unity Church of The Hills in Austin, Texas, a new sound system was way overdue. The church congregation has grown over the years to now require three services on Sunday with different musical styles and audio mixes required in each.
“We had a flying junkyard, a traditional array of a bunch of boxes. Add to this, our worship sanctuary has a lot of floor to ceiling glass windows so there was a limit to our volume levels due to the reverberation,” says Jeff Sarich, sound engineer for the Church.
When it came time to make a decision on which mixers to acquire, Sarich and his team were already leaning toward a pair of Allen & Heath consoles.
“We read a lot of articles in Church production publications and online in blogs and forums. You hear the same thing over and again about Allen & Heath consoles: amazing sound, lots of features and great pricing,” shares Sarich.
For the main sanctuary, the Allen & Heath iLive-T112 Surface with an IDR-64 MixRack commands the FOH position where it orchestrates a new Turbo Sound TCS 1061 line array powered by Ashley NE 2400 amplifiers and a series of Shure ULX-D wireless microphones.
“The Allen & Heath consoles have tremendous resources for the front of house operator,” states Doug Windle, audio design manager for Ace Audio of Hutto, Texas, who designed the new system. “Primarily an audio renovation to bring great sound to a very ‘live’ room, while controlling the reverberation caused by the large glass windows, the Allen & Heath iLive delivers a potent solution for the services. All channels of the iLive have rich sounding compressors with gates and parametric EQ’s with high pass filters on every channel.”
A big revelation for Jeff Sarich and his team has been the sheer power and simplicity of the iLive-T112 system:
“What we really like about the Allen & Heath console is that it has a ton of head room. Its like a racecar, it has great response”, enthuses Sarich.
Like most Houses of Worship, a reliance on volunteers is a wonderful way to build an inclusive community of support. But there is an intimidation factor involved when a novice begins to learn how to properly use a live sound console, especially when ‘performance time’ arrives for a church service.
“One thing I’ll say about the Allen & Heath boards,” relates, Sarich, “the digital interface layout makes it very easy to learn – the EQ section comes up on a nice bright eight inch screen, there is also a VGA port to plug in a bigger screen for instruction.”
Nearby the worship sanctuary is the broadcast/recording hub for the church services. An Allen & Heath GLD-80 with an AR84 IO expander has been installed with a feed from the iLive-T112 system via the Allen & Heath Dante audio networking unit. Coming soon for the Unity Church will be live streaming on the web along with their current CD production and DVD’s of special events.
“You can feel in the faders a smoothness that is important for recording our services. There is no ‘hot spot’ a third of the way up the slider like some consoles I’ve used,” says Sarich. “Dante allows us to know we’re getting our audio levels and mix just right. Also, it’s reliable, we’ve never had a failure with the Dante - it just works.”
When asked why, given all of the mixing consoles available, they wanted Allen & Heath consoles for this renovation, Windle and Sarich commented:
“For quality and ease of use my choice is always an Allen & Heath console,” says Windle.
“Allen & Heath is a company that is focused on what the customer needs. They don’t seem like a big giant company, they seem like a small company that loves what they do,” adds Sarich.