Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, Cokesbury United Methodist Church is one church in three venues, as well as an online ministry that streams worship services on the web. As part of an audio upgrade, the church installed a total of four Allen & Heath GLD-80 mixers.


Two of the Church campuses have a contemporary style of service with singers, keyboards, bass, drums and percussion, piano, horns and a string section. The third campus delivers a traditional theological service with classic choir, piano, guitar, bass, brass, woodwinds and strings.


Charged with orchestrating the diverse audio demands of Cokesbury Church is Technical Director, Mischa Goldman.


“I’ve been in production for over fifteen years and have used ten different mixing consoles. The Allen & Heath processing is fantastic and the sonic quality of their consoles can’t be touched in this price range.” states Goldman. “However, my musical background is Classical and my FOH engineers come from Rock and Metal so we asked our audio contractor to arrange a shoot out for us.”


ML Sound of Knoxville, Tennessee has been Cokesbury Church’s audio consultant and contractor for over ten years.


“Allen & Heath has been embedded in our company for over two decades,” says Joe Hamilton of ML Sound. “I used their analogue boards in the past, those were always way above the other available mixers.


According to Hamilton and his ML Sound colleagues, in previous shoot outs the Allen & Heath GLD-80 had held its own sonically against more expensive brands. With their backs turned, Goldman and his team of FOH engineers listened to the same audio track over and over through four different mixing consoles, which resulted in everyone choosing the GLD-80. Once the testing phase was over, GLD-80s were installed in all three ministry locations.


Goldman’s immediate reaction to the first hearing of the GLD-80 in situ was:


“I felt like all these years I’ve been listening to our sound through a paper bag – we turned the GLD-80 on without any processing – it was a whole new sound spectrum. It’s warmer with very clear articulation and the audio presence is very clean.”


At the north campus of Cokesbury Church, contemporary services are performed using two GLD-80’s, one for FOH and one for monitor mixing with a Dante card to manage the network. Additionally, there are Mackie 1400 amps powering EAW point source speakers, a dozen Shure ULX-S microphones and Sennheiser G3 in ear monitors. Both the FOH and Monitor engineers are using the GLD iPad app to check sound levels throughout the worship sanctuary.


“We are also doing all of our DSP in the GLD-80 console, a great advantage.” he adds.


At the south campus, the audio chain includes d&b audiotechnik point source speakers, d&b D6 amplifiers and a set of Shure ULX microphones for both choir and pastoral use. The space is very acoustically ‘open’ and has a thrust alter jutting out into the sanctuary.


“Given this, the sound must be reinforced as opposed to replaced, it has to be amplified but transparent and not sound amplified. This is where the older congregation worships and they don’t like a loud sound. The GLD-80 processing really delivers an ideal curve on all the audio,” adds Goldman.


A big advantage, as in the rest of the Cokesbury environs is the compatibility of the WAVES card with Allen & Heath mixing consoles, shares Hamilton.


“This feature made the client very happy. It’s a relief to be able to turn an EQ knob when using a WAVE effect and it does what you expect.”


The final Cokesbury United Methodist venue is a high school auditorium. The Hardin Valley high school auditorium is used each Sunday for worship services but during the week it is an active space for the school’s activities, so the audio team must set up break down before and after the service.


“It’s just like doing sound for a road tour but with a shorter amount of time,” reveals Goldman. “We needed a console with a digital snake option, 48 channels of flexibility and processing that can happen on the fly. In other words: drag and drop what you need and forget the rest.”


This unique feature of the GLD-80, easily seen on the LCD screen, makes training the army of volunteers Goldman counts on a simple task.


“The console has everything right there in a simple and logical layout. Terminology is understandable to the layperson and it’s quite quick to get around this desk. Plus the metering on the compressors and gates lets you always see where your threshold is on a per channel basis – that’s a really cool thing about the GLD-80,” enthuses Goldman.


“Finally, Cokesbury Church wanted to record their services. The GLD-80 has a wonderful multi-track recording capability with a DANTE card,” says Hamilton.


Summing up his experience with Allen & Heath, Goldman relates:


“Not only do our engineers love the GLD-80, the volunteers have found them easy to use for all events or just for audio playback. The training took very little time. If I was going back out on the road, I’d use the GLD-80 without hesitation.”