The Zion Lutheran Church of Anoka, Minnesota, has installed an Allen & Heath GLD digital system following an expansion of the sanctuary and an upgrade to the audio system.


Originally built in the 1950’s, the Church has recently grown to over 2500 congregants, presenting the need for expansion including an expanded sanctuary area, as well as an audio upgrade.


“The project had a lot of design challenges that added time to the build calendar,” shares Jeff Geisler of EMI Audio, the AV design/build contractor for the project. Enter the implementation of an Allen & Heath GLD-80 mixing console as the centerpiece of an extensive audio upgrade. “The ease of set up with the Allen & Heath GLD-80 helped us make up for lost time due to construction issues. Everything about Allen & Heath mixers and accessories worked as billed and are straightforward. Sometimes you have an audio product that doesn’t do everything you expect it to do – the GLD-80 is not one of those products – it worked perfectly right out of the box.”


Along with the Allen & Heath GLD-80, with its MMO card providing a variety of formats of multi-channel digital output, there is an AR2412 Audio Rack, and two GLD AR84 expanders. This is the heart of the new audio system for the church, which also includes Bose Control Space ESP signal processing, Bose PM-8500 Amplifiers, Bose LT 9403, LT-9400, 402 Speakers, Shure ULXD wireless Microphones, My Mix Monitor System and DPA Instrument Mics.


“I was old school knobs and switches, the Allen & Heath console was unknown to me but the GLD -80 has an old school feel with new technology – nice!” relates Mark Braaten, AV Coordinator for Zion Lutheran.


Previously, the church audio set up consisted of three mixers linked together with around 40 cables running from stage to the FOH position. According to Braaten, switching from a two or three microphone set up on a Saturday evening into a full ten to fifteen microphone set up for Sunday consumed hours of time, and, with fingers crossed, hope that everything worked.


“For being relatively worried about going digital, my fears were gone quickly with GLD,” affirms Braaten. “Our Church has a lot of different types of services. The Allen & Heath GLD-80, with its large LCD panel for scene recalls, make our different set ups easy to do and easy for the volunteers to learn.”


“What is intriguing to me about the GLD-80 is that our pastoral staff wants to learn the board as well as the volunteers,” says Braaten. “And it is easy to begin training them since we no longer have a complicated set of mixers, boxes and cables all around the FOH desk. The GLD-80’s built-in compressors and effects are easy to learn - each channel EQ is right there on the surface so I don’t need additional racks. Plus, the channel strip layout, with its color-coding, has attracted curiosity about the functions of the board.”


Braaten is happy to report that since training the Pastoral staff, he has only been called once with a question about the GLD.


“The speaking voice sounds real now – not processed. The GLD-80 has a natural sound that enhances the vocals and makes the Bose speakers come alive in a crisp and clean delivery,” Jeff Geisler states unequivocally. “When I recommend Allen & Heath, I know I have the tools I need from matrixes to effects that will please the client, and the smoothness of the sliders makes my point immediately - you can feel the quality.”

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With the sanctuary renovation now complete and his initial trepidations about digital mixers relieved, Mark Braaten and his tribe of audio volunteers are free to explore the full capabilities of the Allen & Heath GLD-80 console.


“I can see the future of the digital world much better now,” he says. “I was such an analogue guy but now that my volunteers and Pastors see me get excited about the digital world, they too are becoming fearless when approaching our new audio system. The GLD-80 with its friendly set up deserves a big ‘thank you’!”