Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Plymouth, Michigan, has installed an Allen & Heath GLD-80 digital mixer along with an AR84 and AR2412 audio I/O racks, to manage FOH and Monitors.
Our Lady caters for an eclectic music program that includes traditional organ, piano, cantor and a five to seven piece contemporary band. The sanctuary is acoustically lively and spacious, with high ceilings, skylights, resonant walls and, to make matters more challenging, nook spaces where audio signals can get lost.
“To be honest, I was close to going with another board that was for the band only,” states Michael Ebaugh, audio engineer for the Parish. “Then I discovered that the Allen & Heath GLD-80 could accommodate all of my worship service needs.”
Ebaugh initially tested three different audio mixing boards by three different manufacturers.
“I research a lot as a critical technician. I spent dozens of hours researching Allen & Heath mixers. What I heard over and over was that the pre-amps are pristine and have a full, rich sound.” He explains.
The Parish approved a full audio upgrade based on Ebaugh’s findings and obvious enthusiasm for the Allen & Heath GLD-80. Under the control of the GLD-80 are JBL CBT 70J column speakers, QSC K-10 speakers in monitor position, a series of Earthworks microphones including FR 20, FMR 60 and PM 40 all integrated with a Symetrix Solis 8 DSP.
The number one priority for Ebaugh, and the Priests and the team of volunteers who regularly engage with the new audio system, is reliability.
“We are ninety years old and a very busy Parish. I have a need for volunteers and a Priest to be able to walk up and push a few buttons, step to the alter and begin a Mass with all of the parametrics, EQ, compression and wireless settings ready to go, some of the time without a live FOH person. Standard analog mixing consoles can be boring for new users – the Allen & Heath GLD-80 draws you into how it works without being intimidating to the beginner, or relatively inexperienced audio volunteer. Simple things like graphic EQ and compression have changed our world. The GLD-80 goes from simple to deep features without being confusing,” shares Ebaugh.
“The GLD-80 has been a good fit for Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish. It made this retro fit job easy, and we didn’t have to do a lot of re-wiring,” says Nathan Cole of Sound Planning Communications of Redford, Michigan, the audio contractor for the job. “We’ve been Allen & Heath dealers for years. What I like about the GLD-80 is that it is very intuitive with a big display. The GLD-80 has found a sweet spot within the worship market. Its digital snake, channel counts, audio dynamics and price point are very impressive. Clients repeatedly enthuse about the channel strip layout on the GLD-80.”
“Right across the top of the console surface is the channel strip layout with parametric EQ’s and compression right in view. When I see all the high res displays I know I’m getting a great value for the cost,” agrees Ebaugh.
As a self-described “certified tone freak and tweak master”, one would think that the more sophisticated feature sets of the Allen & Heath line of consoles would be the deal clincher for Ebaugh:
“The iPad control app that Allen & Heath has developed was the deal clincher for me. Until you hear what the musician or vocalist is doing, right on stage with them, you really don’t know what is happening. This has changed everything for me. Those nooks in the sanctuary where audio can get lost? Problem solved with the A&H iPad app.”
“The industrial design, the form factor is very hand and finger friendly. Its hard not to fall in love with the analogue designed but digital features of the GLD-80 - somebody at Allen & Heath did a lot of deep thinking about the end user,” Ebaugh concludes.