The First United Methodist Church in Bismarck, North Dakota, recently opened a new sanctuary, installing an Allen & Heath GLD-80 digital mixer. Called the Legacy United Methodist Church, the project took six years to complete at a construction cost of $5million.
“180 years ago, a group of doctors founded our church as the First Evangelical United Brethren; later the name was changed to the First United Methodist Church,” shares Dan Weigel, Worship Pastor for the church. “Our last building was constructed 58 years ago, and we out grew it 12 years ago. We have an incredibly generous and motivated congregation that caught the vision for the new church.”
The audio system for Legacy United Methodist is based around a GLD-80 console along with an AR2412 and two AR84 expander racks. The Church also has a Bose Room Match speaker system, eight Shure ULX-D wireless microphones and ten Shure SM-81 ambient microphones all powered by Bose PM 8500 8-channel amplifiers.
“GLD was new to the market. We changed mid-stream and put the GLD-80 in our bid, its capabilities and price point gave us the winning advantage over the other bidders. We had been selling Allen & Heath analogue mixers for years and were apprehensive at going full digital. About a half hour into demo we were like –wow, this is nice,” says Jay Griffin of Dakota Sound, who spec’d and installed Legacy’s system.
Legacy also employs eight Allen & Heath ME-1 personal mixers. During any given Sunday service there is a worship team of five singers (all individual mics), acoustic and electric guitars, bass, piano, keyboards, drums and a 10-piece string, brass and woodwind orchestra section.
“At first I was apprehensive but the A&H console brought it all together,” says Weigel. “The auxiliary sends have an overall control that can be configured multiple ways for ease of operation. Our old analogue board required multiple aux sends, the GLD -80 digital board allows for one aux send for everything. The Allen & Heath console allows me to keep the services fresh, I like to switch the music arrangements and the musicians around every week – the A & H strip assignments are so easy, all I do is slide my strip assignment on the big touch screen and I’m done! Of course I can do this with an analogue board but it’ll take forever. Plus I can save EQ’s and all my settings to a library and recall or flip my audio platform in a minute.”
Jay Griffin was also happy and relieved, stating: “Once the ME-1 system was set up and programmed the client was thrilled – especially since he initially had a preference for another personal mixer. I would not go with any other personal monitor – it integrates seamlessly with the GLD-80.”
Regarding teaching the team of volunteers, Griffin shares: “The EQ of each channel, with its own display, is so user friendly a volunteer actually said after just a few minutes, ‘Oh! I get what EQ is now!’ The touch screen EQ-ing visualises to the operator how they are affecting sound, making sense to the layperson immediately.”
Pastor Dan adds: “My biggest worry was the learning curve of the board, user friendliness is a top priority for us. What my team of volunteers and I have discovered is that you don’t need to be a technically trained person to operate the GLD-80.”
In conclusion, Griffin says: “During the commissioning session, the Bose engineers complimented the GLD-80 several times. They really liked the large and bright LED touch screen - this doesn’t happen very often, if ever. I’ve been impressed with Allen & Heath for a long time – the sound processing is smoother than other mixing consoles I have had, the faders give a great audio transition without the sound jump associated with a lot of mixing boards, and there is a flexibility for routing the channels to banks along with a very simple and convenient EQ channel cut and paste system. Now that we have our fingers on the GLD-80 we are sold. The breadth of capabilities is amazing.”
“Next we want to record, mix and produce DVD’s and CD’s of our services and other events. Plus we’ll be streaming our services live online in the near future.” Pastor Dan enthuses.