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Author Topic: New church plant sound setup  (Read 11012 times)

Aaron Fisk

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New church plant sound setup
« on: July 08, 2011, 10:16:14 pm »

We are planting a church that has the charter that 50% of what we take in (post-launch) goes back out to those in need.  This means that we are renting a school gym for our services (to keep overhead down).  I am helping put together the sound setup.  Needless to say we do not have a lot of money to start with and the sound system will not be the highest priority, but we do want to have a decent setup eventually.  There are two sides to the area we can use.  Initially, we will use the cafeteria, which is 44 x 60 and has some sound dampening in the ceiling.  When we grow out of that space, we will use the  cafeteria, which is 90 x 60 and does not have sound dampening in the ceiling. 

I have some ideas of how we can scale this as the church grows and we have more money available.  I have some stuff from a home recording studio I used to have that I am selling to help buy some gear and I have some stuff I will keep for the church. 

This is what I have that I think could be helpful for the church
   SM58 Mic (1)
   Mic stands (several)
   Mic cords (several)
   Soundcraft E12 mixing board
   Countryman Direct Box
   SM57 Mic (3)

My plan was to slowly scale.  Here is what I planned on getting right away for the church to have a sound setup.
   16 channel snake (I am open to suggestions surrounding fairly inexpensive brands)
   Behringer EUROLIVE F1220A powered monitors (4) I may want to get the F1320Ds that come out later this month that are 300W, as opposed to the F1220A that are 125W.  The thought was at the very beginning to use two of these as the PA speakers (pre-launch services), then right before launch, getting real PA speakers
   Additional SM58 mics as needed
   At least 2 more direct boxes (I am open to brands on this one as well)

By launch, the goal would be to add the following
   JBL PRX612m (2) (or PRX615m, not sure which would be better)
   PRX618s-xlf (1)
   1 wireless mic system with earset mic for pastor
   Additional SM58s as needed

When funds are available and more channels are needed, we would add
   A second wireless mic system
   PreSonus StudioLive 16.4.2 mixing board
   A second PRX618s-xlf if funds are available

I am just looking for feedback if people think this sounds like a good plan or if I am going down the wrong track.  Any positive feedback is appreciated.
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Tim Padrick

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Re: New church plant sound setup
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2011, 10:22:22 pm »

Consider hiring a small local outfit to provide.  You won't have to worry about transport, storage, or maintenance.
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Nicholas Bailey

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Re: New church plant sound setup
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2011, 11:49:49 pm »

Aaron,

I would suggest going to other churches that at doing the portable church plant and see how they are doing it.  I run sound for a 1 year old church plant in Jacksonville, AR. 

As for as snakes, cables, and rack cases, the best place to get them is http://www.audiopile.net/.  Trust me you want cases for everything. 

Our church in the past has went the Behringer route, but in my opinion most of there stuff will fail right after the warranty period. 

My advice would be that you would be better off buying used good quality equipment from either the marketplace here or eBay.  I have seen complete systems on the marketplace for a reasonable price in the past

Our system consists of a rolling cart housing Allen and Heath 2400 24 channel mixer, 4 wireless microphones, 6 wireless In-Ears, various other audio toys, and Bi Amp Nexia Digital processing handling EQ and crossover duties, and a separate amp rack powering 2 Community S-1596 speakers and 2 Community S-215s speakers.

The Community speakers sound awesome.  The 90 degree horns really give a good amount of coverage, if you are planning on just using two close to the stage like we do.

I have assisted setting up another portable church using powered speakers, what I realized is that forces you to run a microphone cable and AC power to each speaker.  I know seems obvious. With a system like ours with a amp rack and passive speakers you just need a single power cable to power the rack and run your speaker cables to the cabinets.  Or main system setups with 6 cables being run.  A snake cable for the stage inputs, a snake cable that runs to the amp rack, two speakon cables that run to the two subs, and two speakon cables that run to the main speakers.

The real problem you are going to have is without quality equipment it will not stand up to the abuse it will receive being loaded in and out of your room every Sunday.

I can send you a complete list of everything that is in our sound system.  We were blessed in the fact that our main church had some used equipment.

Do you have a parent church?  If you have a church that is providing funding, maybe the would be willing to upgrade some of the equipment in their building and give the new church the older equipment.

When we build a new room at my church, we were able to take down the speakers out of the main worship center and place them in the new room.  Then purchase new speakers for the main worship room.  The speakers sounds so good in the smaller room that most people thought they were new.

Later,

Nick

These are just some things to think about.  I hate to see someone not setting up for success.  You want to have a easy to setup, reliable system that you do not have to constantly work on to make it make sound.



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g'bye, Dick Rees

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Re: New church plant sound setup
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2011, 12:15:36 am »

I agree about buying quality used equipment rather than new, cheap gear to be replaced.  You'll need to deploy what you get very carefully in such a space, so the better control the gear will give you, the better time you'll have taming the large, boxy spaces.

You can save money by forgetting the trendy DI's and buying good quality, simple DI's like those sold by Audiopile.  For the cost of a Countryman you can get 2 or 3 passive Audiopile DI's and a few microphones.  There are some very good Chinese "shure" knock offs available from Orange County Speaker Supply.  I bought two of their "ten packs " of the 58's and they've been just fine for general use.  I throw them around at festivals where I need lots of mics for "user operable" systems and needed something that I wouldn't care if they got lost.  They surprised me by being pretty rugged and decent sounding.  Just get the ones without the switches......

Definitely shop for good, used speakers.  You can save as much as 50%.  I've seen lots of high quality, older cabinets go for ten cents on the dollar.  If you're lucky enough to have a good speaker repair shop around perhaps they could assist you in locating some decent, older gear.  Same with a pro audio shop.  Not Guitar Center or a music store, but a genuine sound and lighting supplier.

Let everyone know your location and perhaps a reader or member here can get in touch with some hints.
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Brad Weber

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Re: New church plant sound setup
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2011, 08:31:36 am »

We are planting a church that has the charter that 50% of what we take in (post-launch) goes back out to those in need.  This means that we are renting a school gym for our services (to keep overhead down).  I am helping put together the sound setup.  Needless to say we do not have a lot of money to start with and the sound system will not be the highest priority, but we do want to have a decent setup eventually.
I think you are being smart in approaching it from the perspective of how you can support the immediate needs while also supporting the long term goals.  The one question I have is that you say the sound system is not the highest priority but you have not identified how the system will be used or what is expected.  The more obvious aspects of this may be things like how music fits in the worship, what instruments may be involved and which would run through the system, etc.  If you can go without having to reinforce anything but speech and vocals then that might represent a quite different situation than if you also have to address bass, keys, etc.
 
A perhaps less obvious aspect is how well people need to understand what is said.  It looks like the walls have no acoustical treatment and you'll likely be dealing with pole mount speakers so looking at maximizing the sound hitting the people and minimizing the sound hitting the walls may be important.  Thus factors such as speaker pattern and pattern control may be something you want to consider.
 
I would not focus too much on details such as the Behringer F1220A versus the F1320D.  Behringer is a bit creative in their power ratings and, interestingly, the maximum output in the F1220A product data is actually 6dB greater than the maximum output identified in the F1320D product data (121dB versus 115dB).  But neither is probably a good choice for the mains due to the point noted directly above.
 
The E12 is a nice little mixer but has no high pass filter on the inputs and limited channel EQ.  You also don't address any other signal processing such as EQ, filtering, crossovers or limiting for the mains and monitors.  With the spaces envisioned you might want to seriously consider adding some signal processing.  That could mean a dedicated processing or moving up the StudioLive to be an initial component.
 
Also consider all the little things like a way to transport and store all the cables and stands, power cords, a rack for the wireless mics and any processing devices, etc.
 
As far as using your gear, often a significant factor in that is if you would still be using the gear involved.  If it would be a situation where you'd use it when the church was not using it for services then you may want to consider a method to identify and separate the mics, stands, cables, etc. that are yours, you may not have time every week during break down to carefully segregate your gear from that owned by the church.  You may also want to consider the impact of something happening and how it would impact the other use, for example if a mic was lost or damaged while you were using it how might that affect the church service?  And from a practical perspective you might want to address insurance coverage, your gear may not be covered under your homeowner's insurance if it is stolen or damaged while being used for the church.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2011, 07:42:06 am by Brad Weber »
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Jonathan Johnson

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Re: New church plant sound setup
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2011, 04:24:08 pm »

Just get [microphones] without the switches......

If you will always have someone running the sound system, you definitely want microphones without switches.

It's a bewildering phenomenon. If there is a switch on a microphone, it WILL be turned off by the performer at the end of his set (amazing, it's like a magnet). If there is no switch, the performer will never even look for it. The next performer will have NO CLUE that there is a switch, that it is turned off, and that HE needs to turn it on. When this happens, the performer will look all over the audience EXCEPT the sound booth, where the tech is madly signalling to "turn it on." And if he does see the tech, he will have no clue what the gestures mean.

Nothing like the sound tech walking up on stage to turn on the microphone... embarrassing for the tech, embarrassing for the performer, and distracting for the audience. Talkback (if available) is a little better, but still a distraction.
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Aaron Fisk

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Re: New church plant sound setup
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2011, 07:35:57 am »

Well, I have made some decisions.  I purchased a Manufacturer refurbished Presonus Studiolive 16.4.2 board for a good price.  I am going to get an audiopile snake and DI's (maybe I will get a rack from there as well).  The main thing I am still struggling with is active monitors and PA. 


Having had the first meeting in the space yesterday, I think I will only need to PA speakers to start (no sub right away).  I know that JBL just put in place a price increase on their PRX 600 series, so now doesn't seem like a great time to buy.  Maybe we can get away with no monitors to start and just the PA (for the pre-launch services)?
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Kyle Leonard

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Re: New church plant sound setup
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2011, 11:56:12 am »

Well, I have made some decisions.  I purchased a Manufacturer refurbished Presonus Studiolive 16.4.2 board for a good price.  I am going to get an audiopile snake and DI's (maybe I will get a rack from there as well).  The main thing I am still struggling with is active monitors and PA. 


Having had the first meeting in the space yesterday, I think I will only need to PA speakers to start (no sub right away).  I know that JBL just put in place a price increase on their PRX 600 series, so now doesn't seem like a great time to buy.  Maybe we can get away with no monitors to start and just the PA (for the pre-launch services)?


This may sound crazy, but there is a new speaker manufacturer that just started being imported from Brazil. Their website is www.skpaudio.com. The pricing is really good for start up churches, and the sound is really good. There should be a manufacturers representative in your area that has something you can demo. I've been very impressed with the quality.


Kyle
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Brad Weber

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Re: New church plant sound setup
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2011, 03:33:16 pm »

This may sound crazy, but there is a new speaker manufacturer that just started being imported from Brazil. Their website is www.skpaudio.com. The pricing is really good for start up churches, and the sound is really good. There should be a manufacturers representative in your area that has something you can demo. I've been very impressed with the quality.
Were there any specific products that you were thinking of for the particualr application being addressed or are you just pushing the brand in general?
 
I don't know anything about SKP Audio but I could find only two distributors in the US identified on the SKP Audio web site, a music store and what is apparently an importer/exporter.  Both are in the Miami area and the music store is apparently only an authorized distributor for within Miami Dade County.  If you know of other distributors or reps then please share that information, otherwise a demo is probably not a practical option for most people.
 
Since a demo is apparently out of the question, I randomly choose one SKP Audio speaker model, the SK-6P, to look at the product data and noted that they claim a frequency response of 35Hz-20kHz (+/-3dB) yet the accompanying response chart shows some levels at higher frequencies that exceed 110dB while the 35Hz level is somewhere around 82 or 83dB, about 30dB below the peaks levels, which is not +/-3dB.  It looks like a more realistic response might be 95Hz-20kHz (+/-5dB).  Maybe that is simply a typo but it does make one wonder.  I also cannot find even nominal pattern information for any of the speaker models, a pretty basic piece of information to provide.
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Aaron Fisk

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Re: New church plant sound setup
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2011, 08:07:35 am »

Ok, a little bit of an update, as a number of things have changed.  First off, we were able to get a different school with an auditorium (seats about 450), which solves a number of the sound issues vs. being in a gym.  I have purchased some equipment.  We have two JBL PRX615 for the main speakers and a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 for the board.  The goal is to add at least 1 JBL PRX618s-xlf before the launch (not sure if we need two).  We have five passive DI's (one countryman, 4 EWI's) and a 150' 16x8 Reel snake from EWI.  I have a SM58 and all the drum mic'ing we will need.  Here is what I was thinking that we need before our Launch

- At least 2 wireless mic systems.  I was thinking of getting AT-3000's (one handheld system and one UniPak transmitter for Pastor with a MM audio earset mic).  I have heard a lot of good things about the AT-3000 and it will be right around our budget of $1,000. 
- At least one JBL PRX618s-xlf sub (not sure if we need two). 
- Wireless IEM for the drummer.  I was thinking of getting the AT-M2M
- Floor Wedge monitors for the rest of the group.  Here I am not really sure what route to go at all.  I like the ease of active monitors for volunteers, but we do want to reduce clutter on the stage.  I have in the budget about $1,450 for the monitors ($2,000 - $550 for the AT-M2M).  I am really open to any thoughts / suggestions.  If we were to go passive, the amps and wedges would have to be around that $1,450.
- Misc cables.  I have some, but we also have around $150 in the budget for other cable needs (I do have a good pair of 50' XLR's cables for the main speakers)

Is there anything I am missing?  I would also be really open to comments / suggestions on the stuff I have listed.  Thanks!
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