Worship Sound System Upgrade: Monitoring and Control, Part 2

Live music with guitars, keyboards, and guest artists. The First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey has a revved up worship style and a growing membership. 10/18/2012 6:57 AM Eastern

Worship Sound System Upgrade: Monitoring and Control, Part 2

Oct 18, 2012 10:57 AM, With Bennett Liles

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Live music with guitars, keyboards, and guest artists. The First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey has a revved up worship style and a growing membership. They called Boulevard Pro to put in a new sound system that was up to the task. James Cioffi is back with part two on the tech details, coming up right now on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: James Cioffi from Boulevard Pro, thanks for being back for part two of the SVC Podcast. Big installation at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens, a lot of live music there and rigging a whole new sound system for that. What mixer did you go with for the stage monitoring?

So we have a Yamaha LS9-32 on the stage with two Aviom cards, which will allow us to send 16 mixes out to the Aviom personal mixing stations and each one of the guys in the band has that. There’s an Aviom unit up in the television studio where they can monitor some things as well and everything’s over Cat-5. So it’s a really, very unique way of doing it. And then it’s another six or eight floor monitor mixes, which are contemporary standard mixes where there are channels of amplifiers. We use the Yamaha TN series amplifiers for monitor mixes, which we did for any of the choir monitor down fills or the stage monitors for performance or there are a couple of podiums; there are some stage monitors there and there are some monitors for the pastor as well and so there’s a myriad of in-ears and standard floor monitors working. [Timestamp: 1:59]

That’s a lot of stuff to handle and you’re working with volunteers on the tech crew for the most part, so you’ve got to get them all trained and of course churches love the Aviom system. It makes things so much easier on the monitor mixes.

It’s a very useful tool and with the LS9, it’s very easy. It’s just a card that goes in the back and it already sees the 16 mix outs, and you can send whatever you want to those mixes and it’s independent of the other mixes of the console; so it really is a useful tool. Joe Spencer, [who] is the lead audio guy there, is a very, very smart guy—understands everything about it, built the monitor mixes. The band is professional. They understand the monitor mixes. They understand that the dynamics—it’s the same band every week so they’ve done quite a bit of rehearsals. They have the thing dialed in. Joseph has the Yamaha stage mix app on the Apple iPad and he uses that to control the monitors from FOH or he can control FOH from the monitors. He doesn’t mix on it. He uses it to fine tune or to make some subtle changes if he’s on stage walking around. And then after that point the engineers that are onsite are just responding to the daily needs of the artist; there are going to be some kind of changes, but they’re not making overall broad stroke changes. [Timestamp: 3:16]

Yeah, the iPad app must be great for not having you tied down to one location when you want to make adjustments from any place in the acoustic environment.

And it’s a rock-solid format. It works really well. The Yamaha programming of their app is solid, and it’s always being updated, so you’re getting more and more access to everything on the console. It’s a very cool thing; it could get out of hand I would think—we’ve seen it. We’ve seen some people with the Apple unit go nuts with it, but I think if you use it in moderation it works really, really well. [Timestamp: 3:50]

So where is the front of house mixer? How far is it from the performing area? What kind of mic line runs have you got on that?

Well, the mic lines I installed was a standard analog Whirlwind snake that was in from the existing installation. It was done very well. They had extra channels for what we needed to do, so that part of it was pretty much a plug-and-play situation. We used existing lines and did some modifications up in the head in control room. Right behind the FOH area is another level up is a control room for the video part of the church—that’s for the video ministry and in that room is where all the amp racks are and all the head end location was, so we had to do some changes from FOH to the control room, which wasn’t very far but there was some conduit and some pull lines in it. So we pulled the extra lines that we needed and we were able to interface all the amplifiers from that location. [Timestamp: 4:46]

Worship Sound System Upgrade: Monitoring and Control, Part 2

Oct 18, 2012 10:57 AM, With Bennett Liles

OK, so when they get everything going in there, how big is the band? What kind of sound sources have you got to deal with?

Oh, it’s a full gospel band, a 100-voice choir with the guitar-based drums, a B-3, two electric keyboard players, and a guitar player, and they host all the contemporary Christian artists that tour the New York area, so there could be CiCi Williams, there could be Hezekiah Walker in there. They have a lot of music, and it’s a really great venue because it’s really not a bad seat in the house. They did a lot of acoustic treatments with sound panels on the walls. It’s really a wonderful looking place. I guess if you went online you could probably look at the pictures, but it really is cool looking place. It’s set up for television, it’s set up for concert, it’s set up for worship. It’s really well thought out. [Timestamp: 5:38]

And they do a weekly broadcast there, so how do they set up the broadcast? Do they have a separate TV control room and how do they get the sound to the broadcast?

Separate TV control room. Joseph sends out a mix from the FOH. He built a mix to video where they take it. I believe they, I think they have a ProTools set up. I am not quite sure. I didn’t investigate that fully, but I believe it’s a ProTools rig; they have the high-def cameras and the switchers, and they produce their own shows and I think he gets to put on gospel cable TV. They are a very legitimate force in that industry for sure. [Timestamp: 6:15]

Well, with as big a membership as they have, the broadcast is almost essential because there are always going to be so many people who can’t be there in the church; so that’s a huge part of it. So what was the timeline on this? Did you have get in and do it quickly or what was going on as far as events in the church?

Well, you know, Bennett, to be honest with you this job took about two and a half years from the original meeting to get it done. We started looking at it in 2008 and then of course the financial meltdown and everybody got real nervous about spending any kind of large dollars on anything. They put a [hold] on that and then we got back in there on 2010. Back in 2008 we had spec’d the same system that we spec’d in 2010 with the exception of we used the Nexo NX 4x4 amplifiers. With this whole rig, the whole FOH rig is working on two amplifiers. They’re four channels, super high power, built-in processing; it’s almost a set-and-forget situation. We put in the parameters to the system. We locked it into the processing. They have never ever gone into the processing to change anything. Out of the box we used the resources of Joe Rimstidt, who is a brilliant guy when it comes to large format line array systems. He has a resume a mile long. He’s just a really, really great guy and we use his resources a lot. And with the NX software and Joe’s help and Yamaha support we were able to come up with a very, very solid great sounding rig and it’s bullet proof. It’s been working for months and months and months. We haven’t had any issues whatsoever. They could just keep commenting on how much more they like it. So it’s really a great—for an install it’s an installers dream. [Timestamp: 8:09]

Well, it’s a whole lot going on every Sunday and probably a lot of things in between, and it’s got to be fun for them to have what they need to do it just the way they want it. So what’s coming up for Boulevard Pro? You’ve had a lot going on with this one so what have you got up your sleeve here?

We’ve been doing a lot of churches and schools. We do a lot of jobs like that. We really do enjoy them because some of the jobs that we do are very large, some of the jobs that we do are very small. We love doing a high school auditorium where we’ll do a projector, a screen, and a digital console and a sound system. We’ve done 5.1 sound systems in schools because we do have a home theater division of the company where we understand that. We never wanted to be residential guys, but doing corporate board rooms and doing the type of installations that we do that we always get called in to do—we do somebody’s, a CEO’s, boardroom and they say can you do our house in the Hampton’s and so we understand the 5.1 technology and we understand the production, professional production, environment. My brother Anthony runs the rental side of the company where we do large sale concert events. We do, in New York City, we were named Sound Company of the Year for the northeast region, which is from D.C. to the top of Maine. We do a lot of music for corporate; this last week we did Jane’s Addiction, we did Ted Nugent; we’re doing Johnny Winter and Edgar Winter in the local theaters. We’ve always tried to market ourselves in the middle market. The middle market is the 3,000—you know 1500-5,000ft. arenas or theaters or outdoor venues and that market since the economy has slowed and the music industry has changed so much that bands are touring constantly and much bigger bands are playing smaller venues. So with the production side rocking and rolling and doing well and the installation side we’ve seen over the last couple of years that being diversified has helped us because I am going to be honest with you, it’s not been easy for any company that’s in business and especially a company in our neck of the woods and we’ve managed to grow during this depression and not by waiting for something to happen by making it happen. So we’re very proud of that as well as everything else that we do. [Timestamp: 10:35]

That’s the way you have to play it nowadays and it’s great to have you here to tell us about this project at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in New Jersey and it’s James Cioffi from Boulevard Pro. Keep it going James. You had a good one.

And thank you very much. If you’re ever in New York, let’s take you to dinner, OK?

You got it!

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