In this edition of the SVC Podcast, SVC Contributing Editor Bennett Liles talks with Tim Pickett of Encompass AV in Chicago about the total AV revamp his company did for the Inspirational Deliverance Center Church of God in Christ with new Martin MLA Mini arrays, Elation lighting and a new video distribution network. Tim outlines the installation of the Martin sound system and discusses the musicians’ monitoring and the Behringer X32 FOH mixing console.
Links of interest:
• Encompass AV in Chicago
• Martin Audio Ultra Compact MLA Mini array system
• Behringer X32 FOH audio mixing console
• Martin Audio AQ8 side fills used in the sanctuary sound system
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Nov 3, 2014 4:05 PM,
With Bennett Liles
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Editor’s note: For your convenience, this transcription of the podcast includes timestamps. If you are listening to the podcast and reading its accompanying transcription, you can use the timestamps to jump to any part of the audio podcast by simply dragging the slider on the podcast to the time indicated in the transcription.
From Sound & Video Contractor Magazine, this is the SVC Podcast with Tim Pickett of Encompass AV. Show notes for the podcast are available on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com.
The Inspirational Deliverance Center Church of God in Christ had to re-do everything with sound, lighting and video. For a company that could do it all they called in Encompass AV and company president Tim Picket is going to tell us how they got it all done, coming up right now on the SVC Podcast.
Tim, it’s great to have you with us on the SVC Podcast and it’s from Encompass AV in Elk Grove Village, Illinois and that’s basically Chicago.
Yeah, it’s Chicago, Illinois. Oak Grove is a suburb right outside of Chicago where we keep our warehouse.
Okay, and Encompass AV, your company. Tell us a little about Encompass AV. How long has that outfit been around?
I started the company in 1999 out of Columbia College. I graduated from Columbia College actually in 2000 and I started the company – doing sound system design for nightclubs mostly – during my junior year. So I had been working in the professional audio industry before that through high school and through college and so I just kind of took my connections and my knowledge that I was getting from college and started a company and it’s grown and flourished ever since. [Timestamp: 1:31]
And what sorts of projects do you take on at Encompass AV? Obviously more than just churches.
We’re primarily a commercial company. We really don’t go into the consumer range very often. The only time we do even mess with consumers is when one of our commercial clients asks for help at a private residence. But other than that, we’re commercial. I started the company to be a commercial company to do sound and lighting and it kind of developed into video, security cameras, some network stuff and so on and so forth. But sound is definitely my love and my passion. That’s kind of where we started and lighting just kind of came with the territory of sound at the time, but video has been such a big deal for us and has grown so much in the past years that we couldn’t help but jump on board. So here we are and 15 years later, we do a lot of bars, nightclubs and restaurants in downtown Chicago – very exclusive ones, very nice ones. We also do education; we also do work for the University of Chicago, we do work for the University of Illinois, and some hotels and conference centers along the way too. We’ve done hotels all over the country: Tampa, Napa, Denver, so on and so forth. So, yeah.
Well that’s a good thing that you’ve got experience in sound, lighting and video because you got to show what you can do in all three of those areas on this job. You were working on the Inspirational Deliverance Center Church of God in Christ. Is that a traditional church or are they pretty contemporary with live music?
It would fall under the category of more of a gospel church, as I would understand it. The church, they’re very, very lively people. They have filled that – have rivaled that of any rock concert I’ve ever been to. Their requirements for the sound system were pretty intense. It was definitely not just your basic sound reinforcement. They have a full gospel choir. They have a drum kit. They have two Leslie cabinets that are hooked up to a Hammond organ, which are very loud. They monitor speakers. We went with modern speakers and personal EM monitors. They have two keyboard players. I mean it’s quite the show. It’s quite the production. They do it twice a week every week, so it was a very good project and I think they chose some very nice equipment and they spent the money right and it turned out real nice and everybody’s real happy. [Timestamp: 4:06]
From the pictures I’ve seen it looks like it’s carpeted which I’m sure is a plus acoustically but they also have plenty of hard walls and a very interesting looking ceiling. So how is it acoustically overall?
It’s a very interesting space, Bennett. It’s shaped like a pyramid. The roof has four sides and it’s shaped like a pyramid – on the inside of a pyramid, and the walls are drywall – just painted, white drywall; very reflective. Now thankfully the floor, like you said, is carpeted and they have 500 feet in their sanctuary. As you saw in the picture, they’re more like theater seating – very comfortable seats with arm rests and not your typical church pews; very comfortable, a very soft environment so that helped a lot with sound. The old sound system, however, the way that they had a very conventional sound system. I think they had a couple of JBL12-inch two-way cabinets with an 18-inch JBL stop and a couple of Electro-Voice 15-inch two-way cabinets. And the issues were the way they were aiming them, the directionality of them. They were bouncing all over the place and so the room acoustics weren’t good. We decided to get into the Martin MLA Mini system. We were able to do four modules on each side of the MLA mini with MSX 15-inch powered sub which also helped powered modules – the speakers. That system has amazing control. When you’re in pattern it sounds phenomenal. It’s very wide, it’s a 100-degree pattern. But once you’re out of the pattern you’re out of the pattern. It’s a very steep and sharp cutoff, which is great because when you aim them right, when you get them right on the floor of the sanctuary – on the seating area – then you don’t have to worry about the reflection staying inside and going all over the place. So with the MLA Mini we were able to accomplish tremendous things and produce tremendous sound quality at very high STL levels for the room and give them exactly what they need. [Timestamp: 6:08]
Well, they must have liked the sound system demo because I heard that they just bought the demo system right then and there.
Fortunately there was a demo system going around and I have a very healthy relationship with Rob Hofkamp who’s the director of Martin Audio North America. That demo system was scheduled to make two or three more stops after our demo. So I told them, because the MLA Mini was already backordered at that point it would be a wait to get, if they really wanted to jump on this they should probably buy the demo and I could probably even cut the a little bit of a deal on the demo; give them five percent off. So that’s exactly what we did. We locked in the demo immediately after they said, “Yep, this is the sound system for us. Let’s figure out the numbers, let’s work everything out, but let’s lock this in.” So I called Bob Hofkamp immediately and I told him to keep that set aside for me and plan on shipping it right back when you guys are done with the demos. We let it go out for the other demos, but had it come right back to my warehouse so we could install it a couple weeks later. [Timestamp: 7:05]
So how was it rigging those Martin arrays? Did you have existing rigging points from the old system or did you just have to start from scratch?
We kind of had to start from scratch. Unfortunately the rigging point for the system was set up as just a mono system with a stack in the center. So the points were all in the center. We were doing obviously a stereo sound system and a left-right, so we had rig new points where there was construction. There was electrical because of the speakers. Obviously they’re powered so you have to have – we had to bring in a 20-inch circuit to each speaker; a dedicated circuit. And we had to cut up the into the drywall, we had to drill into steel beams, but we were able to accomplish exactly what we wanted to do and get the angles we wanted to get and make it safe at the same time. As far as working with the MLA Minis, they’re incredible. They’re absolutely incredible. They snap right together. The way the engineer set them up, the way everything’s built into the cabinets you don’t really have to have much external hardware except for the main fly frames and then the two which attached at the MSX power plant for the MLA mini cabinets, the top cabinets. Other than that, all the hardware is included in each speaker. They slide right up, they pop right into each other. There’s a spine on the back so you can adjust the angle of the MLA Mini – the top – and it worked beautifully. It was very, very, very easy to work with. I was very impressed. It really sounds amazing right out of the box, so I’m very happy. I can’t even tell you how happy I am with the MLA mini. [Timestamp: 8:39]
And with music as such a big part of this church, how do the musicians do their monitoring?
The gospel choir itself, because there’s so many people, we have four QSC K12’s which is not the best speaker in the world, but not a bad speaker by any means. At some point, budget was a concern. We didn’t have an unlimited budget, so one of the things we did was use the QSC K12’s to cut some costs, to save some money for the gospel choir. For the musicians themselves we went with the Shure PSM900 series in-ear monitors and we gave each musician their own. So that worked out real nice and that helped the musicians because the musicians are placed directly under one of the Leslie cabinets and they were having a lot of trouble with the old monitors that they had. So the in-ear monitors worked out real well for the musicians. [Timestamp: 9:30]
The centerpiece for audio control is I believe a Behringer X32 digital console so how was that all connected?
Yes. The Behringer X32, we work with another company a lot called Headroom Productions. They do lots down here in Chicago. We actually share a warehouse with them. Now I pick their brain when it comes to doing live sound systems, especially on specific equipment, just to kind of make sure that I’m up to date, because they deal with this stuff every day – day in and day out. We’re not always doing live sound systems. A lot of times we do nightclubs or hotels or restaurants, so my hands aren’t always in the in a live sound project. They recommended the Behringer X32. It’s made with Midas components and it’s a really good console for the money. Midas has released their M32, which is pretty much the identical board, but it’s $1,000.00 more. At the time the M32 wasn’t out yet, so that wasn’t an option and a step up to the next size Midas digital console would have been another $3,000.00-$4,000.00 on top of the Behringer. So again, we spent the money on the MLA Mini. We went with the Behringer, but the Behringer, honestly, sounds phenomenal. I have no complaints. We got it under $3,000.00 and he’s got 40 channels, which is the perfect size for the size venue this was and it’s been great. We don’t have any issues with it. We have a single CAT-6 that runs from the Behringer that goes to the two breakout boxes on the stage. We have 32 inputs on the stage and we have another 16 outputs on the stage that we can use, and it’s all run with a single CAT-6 cable, which is phenomenal. So very happy with the Behringer, especially for the price. Very, very good console. [Timestamp: 11:08]
Well, I know it gets a good workout with a live choir, all the instruments and the Hammond organ with twin Leslie’s, one on each side so it’s got to pretty rousing when all of that stuff gets going in the same direction.
It is. They really do a tremendous show there. And segueing to what we did with lighting and video and they have a lot of energy in that particular church.
Alright, well I’m glad you were here to tell us about this one, Tim and in part two we’ll get into the lighting and the video network you set up for the church and the various mikes they use so we’ll see you in part two.
All right. Thanks a lot, Bennett.
Thank you for being here with us for the SVC Podcast with Tim Pickett of Encompass AV. Show notes are available on the website of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at svconline.com. In part two Tim will outline the microphone selection, the lighting and the video network installed on the project. Next time on the SVC Podcast.