Worship: A Tailored AV Bid for New Construction, Part 1

When your church tops out on membership in its present facility, it may be time to build a brand new one and equip it with the latest audio and video system. 1/06/2011 5:43 AM Eastern

Worship: A Tailored AV Bid for New Construction, Part 1

Jan 6, 2011 10:43 AM, With Bennett Liles

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When your church tops out on membership in its present facility, it may be time to build a brand-new one and equip it with the latest audio and video system. Faced with that task Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato, Minn., called on Intermedia Systems Group, and Josh Jagdfeld is here to tell us the whole story. Coming up on the SVC podcast.

SVC: Josh, so glad to have you here on the SVC podcast from Intermedia Systems Group in Burnsville, Minn. How long has the Intermedia System Group been in business?
Intermedia Systems Group has been around since late 2007, when we started it here in Burnsville, Minn. [Timestamp: 1:03]

And we’re talking about a project at the Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato, Minn.
Yeah, correct.

And where in the development of the project did you get into it? In the planning stage for the new sanctuary or did you get into it somewhere during the construction?
The Hosanna Lutheran Church project was a little bit interesting in that there was a local contractor in Mankato, Minn. that did the design for the church early on in the project, and by the time that the church decided to send out the bid documents to all the other contractors that they wanted to bid on, the project a lot of things had changed, and the project schedule was actually a little bit further on than most contractors would probably be use to. What ended up happening is that the project was supposed to start in the fall of 2009, and it got held up for the winter and didn’t start instead until the spring of 2010 when everything hit after the ground had cleared up little bit. Things were a little bit further along than they probably should have been. So we got into the project pretty late. [Timestamp: 2:07]

Well I guess being held up for the winter is nothing special because probably everything gets held up for the winter up there.
Pretty much. It’s like fighting a war with Russian wrenches—you know? [Timestamp: 2:17]

What kind of a worship style have they got at Hosanna Lutheran?
I would say that Hosanna Lutheran Churches worship style is pretty mixed. A lot of churches today are either going one way or another it seems. There is a big focus on traditional, very liturgical worship with the Lutheran church or a very modified, contemporary worship, and Hosanna actually fits right in the middle. They do a lot of hymns sings, they do full band, so a little bit of it feels like it is one way, but it could also feel like it’s going the other way. Any service might have hymns mixed in with newer worship tunes, so it’s very, very blended, but there is a focus on music. In particular, the church has got a choir, they’ve got a hand bell group, they have the full band. They’ve actually got a couple of bands. A youth band and an adult band, and each one of those music groups has worship services that they run predominantly week in and week out. [Timestamp: 3:21]

And it looks like there’s a lot of activity as far as having a lot of up time for the new sanctuary. How many regular services do they have up there? It seems like they have several.
Yeah, they have at least four worship services a week and they, depending on Wednesday nights and things like that, can have more or less. It just really depends on the week, but they do have events in the sanctuary, especially the new sanctuary, probably at least every other day of the week. And then of course the huge lump of events on Sunday like most churches are used to. [Timestamp: 3:51]

How many people can they get in there? What’s the seating capacity?
The new sanctuary was designed to have built in overflow seating, so there’s a non-effects greeting area in the back that can be considered part of the sanctuary space though it does have the ability to be closed off with some sections of doors. So the main sanctuary itself without that overflow seating space seats about 800, and then the overflow seating space will accommodate maybe another 200-250. [Timestamp: 4:19]

So if it can be closed off, do you have a separate audio and video feed going back there?
Yeah there is. There’s a distributed system that feeds the narthex greeting area, and then there’s the point source boxes in the main sanctuary space that feed the general seating area. [Timestamp: 4:34]

You mentioned a lot of different music performances going on, it seems like that would be the primary challenge from the audio part of it anyway being able to handle the short turn around between all those with the stage monitoring and all of that. So what was the biggest challenge on this? Was it timeline or just the number of different musical performers?
I would say that there was probably two main challenges. Number one was the timeline and especially working with the church from a very educational standpoint to help flush out the bid documents to really fit their specific needs which had changed a little bit over that delayed time period and had evolved a little bit just over the growth of membership and what their music ministry is doing. So the first challenge was really trying to make what was a little bit of a vanilla bid situation into something that was really well tailored for the facility and all of the musical groups that were there in particular. Additionally then, the second challenge I would say was making sure that all of those musical groups and all of the pastors and the people who were going to be using this space day in and day out really had all the tools that they needed from not just an audio standpoint but from a video, projection, and recording standpoint to make sure that not really any one ministry was left out even though music is clearly important to the church. [Timestamp: 5:56]

And you went with an EtherSound network on this. Is there a particular reason you went that way with it or was that just the thing to do with the equipment you installed?
We did decide EtherSound on the project. In the original bid documents an analog snake, an analog mixing console, was specified, but as we were meeting with the church and really doing some of that up-front programming to frame a little bit of the design that wasn’t so clear, some of the things that they said really stuck out to us. They wanted to make an investment into the future. They wanted to be using technology that was going to be relevant in a couple of years that would be of high quality and that would be very flexible. And as a Yamaha commercial audio dealer, we’ve had a lot of experience with the LS9 and the M7CL consoles in particular for a lot of the houses of worship that we work with, and so the ease of pulling a single or two Cat-5e cables from the front to the back of the space was just so much easier than pulling all of those individual lines of copper&emdashespecially became useful when we found that during the installation, one of the conduits from the front of the room to the back of the room accidentally got filled with concrete. So if we would have been pulling individual copper lines, we would not have had all the conduit that we needed. [Timestamp: 7:17]

Funny how things like that happen.

Conduits end up where they weren’t supposed to be. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any being filled with concrete before, but I’ve been on the receiving end of surprises on the location of the conduits and ground connection surprises and so on. So on the speaker side of this thing you went with the EAW AX396 and the AX366, why did you make that choice?
We did. One of the things that we really like about the EAW AX in theory is that they are coaxial horn-loaded speakers, so the pattern control is really exceptional. Now the room itself is not overly reverberant. It’s large, but it’s not a situation where maybe like a large traditional Catholic church or large stone facilities where you have to really focus on reverberation time and really be specific about your pattern control. This was a little bit of a mixed situation. We obviously didn’t want to send a lot of acoustic energy at the side walls of this space. So with those AX366s, one on the left and the right side covering the sides of the sanctuary, we were able to get a nice tight coverage pattern for the side seating areas, while the 396 filled the center two seating areas without really having to excite the room too much. [Timestamp: 8:35]

Worship: A Tailored AV Bid for New Construction, Part 1

Jan 6, 2011 10:43 AM, With Bennett Liles

And what did you out in the narthex area? Are you doing 70V?
We’re doing 70V speakers out in the overflow meeting area that are the QSC AcousticDesign 5 in-ceiling speakers, shallow can. [Timestamp: 8:49]

I guess you can put any kind of feed you want to out there in case it’s closed off&emdashor I don’t know&emdashhow much different does it sound when it’s open to the sanctuary?
When it’s open to the rest of the sanctuary. The fun thing is that space out there is still largely&emdashuntil you get to the very back of it&emdasheven in the coverage pattern of the AX396. So what we did is we tied in a lot of those distributed speakers in a very low level way as such that your ear is not really drawn to those but it feels like they’re a good reinforcement of what you’re hearing from the main speaker cluster. [Timestamp: 9:24]

And where are you running the amplifiers from on these? Have you got them in a rack near the FOH or are they hidden somewhere in a closet?
Yeah, the amplifiers for all of the equipment are actually located in a room that is adjacent to the FOH location. It’s basically a room that’s dedicated to any rack gear and racks that needed to be associated with the AV system. [Timestamp: 9:44]

What kind of control do you have over the amplifiers? Is it pretty much a front-panel set or do you have a remote control over those?
Yeah, we actually used a Lab.gruppen C-series amplifiers with a Nomad Link Ethernet interface so that we could do some varying levels of control. There is front-panel control. So that has been tempered a little bit so that most of those things are pretty much non-adjustable without the right software just so that we don’t lose settings and gain and the ever-important gain structure, etc. What we’ve done instead is used the Lab.grouppen software to manage the C-series amplifiers. So from anywhere in the facility, we’ve got a non-broadcasting wireless network that allows you to log in, make amplifier changes, monitor your input, gain, and make any changes to those amps that’s needed. [Timestamp: 10:35]

Oh that’s great! That would be a really handy thing because you could have a lot better monitoring situation where you can hear what you’re doing than to have to do a lot of running around. So you used the Yamaha M7CL48ES as the FOH?
Yeah, that’s correct.

And that generates the timing for the EtherSound system?
It does. Yeah, the M7CL is a pretty slick setup. It’s got a couple of card slots in it that allow you to drop in specialty cards for different network configuration. So this church has got an Aviom system for all of their personal monitoring as well as the EtherSound system. The particular M7CL48ES that we used actually has all of the EtherSound outputs and inputs built right into the console without having to eat up those card slots. Though, in a traditional configuration with a standard M7CL you would have to get the specialty EtherSound cards to drop into those card expansion slots. In this system, the M7CL48ES actually acts as the configuration point and the controller for the two 16x8 EtherSound stage boxes that are all the way across sanctuary space in the green room behind where the alter is located. [Timestamp: 11:50]

And you mentioned the Aviom for stage monitoring. Does the M7CL handle all of the signal routing to send to those?
Yeah, what we actually do is all of the routing for the Aviom the system that gets them distributed over their proprietary A-net protocol out of that card slot in the back of the console. All of that routing is done through the M7CL’s touchscreen so you can do all of the patching depending on where you want to come out from the channels on the console. We happen to be using direct outs from all of the channels that need to be patched into that Aviom system and that all happens in the Digital Realms. You’re not doing any patch cables or anything like that. And of course, if the church wants to change their patching and change the configuration of the Aviom system, it’s very, very simple. It’s as easy a couple of direct out patches right in the console. [Timestamp: 12:36]

Well it would have to be I would think with all of the different music acts and being able to quickly transition from one to the other especially for the stage monitoring so it sounds like you’ve got a set up that really takes the load off doing all that. Josh, it’s been great having you on the SVC podcast for part one on this and talking about the set up in the Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato, Minn. And in part two, we can get into the training of volunteers and the wireless mic system, and it’s antenna set up and get into the projection because I think you’ve got a really interesting arrangement on that but thanks for being here for part one.

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