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Cutting edge

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Eric Chancey:
A lot of churches these days have great A/V departments.
Do you think the church needs to be or should be on the cutting edge of technology? Should we be ahead of other "worldly" venues technically? How do we be leaders without mimicking the world. or how do we be leaders without being followers?

Tom Roche:
So true.....some churches can afford awesome A/V technology, while others can only afford hand-me-downs.

Do churches need to be on the cutting edge?  It's likely the responses you might receive are relative to the posters' situations and experiences.  My generalized answer is "no."  However, when used in the proper manner the latest technology certainly can be beneficial.  Consider whether the new technology meets a specific purpose or if it's used just for the sake of having it.  Also consider format, especially for video and/or multimedia.  The reality is these technologies evolve quickly.  To minimize their cost and maximize their value some churches recognize the sooner they get onboard, the more use they will get from it.

If a church is pursuing the latest technology for the sake of being a techno-gear leader, then I think that church has lost its focus.  Perhaps there are a few exceptions, but I'd guess the overwhelming majority of churches don't operate with this goal in mind.

Lastly, I'll say we should give God our best.  If that means we can buy the latest and greatest and it better serves us, then why not?

Tom

Rich Bruchal:
Echancey wrote on Sat, 08 May 2004 23:22
A lot of churches these days have great A/V departments.
Do you think the church needs to be or should be on the cutting edge of technology? Should we be ahead of other "worldly" venues technically? How do we be leaders without mimicking the world. or how do we be leaders without being followers?


You have to be careful not to put the cart before the horse.  The first thing to do is to take a step back and look at (or formulate) a set of goals or priorities.  What exactly do you want to accomplish with regard to music in your church?  Then design (or better yet, have a professional design) a system that meets those goals.

Of course sometimes economic realities necessatate revising those goals, but then your design should meet those revised goals.

That being said, I've found in many technology applications that it's better to spend the extra money for higher qualiy stuff, as it's less likely to cause trouble down the line or become obsolete. (i.e. don't be penny-wise but pound-foolish)

Tom Young:
I think a church needs, or is justified, to be adequately equipped.  

A small and poor church obviously cannot afford nor can they justfy having a SOTA (state-of-the-art, and in this context I mean "top dollar") sound system, assuming they must pay for it and it is not donated.  I also see no point in a large and prosperous church having a top dollar system while their natural acoustics are a mess and acoustic/mechanical noise is an issue.

I gotta say, though, that there is *far* more money wasted by those churches who spend foolishly low amounts of money on what appears (to them) to be acceptable bargains and with no consideration for what is really required to deliver adequate sound. Far too often the concept of 'good stewardship' is misapplied in this regard and the result is that the accumulative cost of equipment, once a useable system is finally achieved, is far in excess of what it would have cost if done right the first time.

Getting back to your original question:  in my work while on staff at churches and as a design consultant (not to mention in my many years of secular sound) I have on occasion justfied buying or spec'ing certain top-dollar pieces of equipment because the benefits were tangible.  But in these cases (systems) I also researched and found good bargains for elsewhere in the system that saved money but did not compromise the sound or show evidence of being poor long term investments.

Hope this helps shed some light.....

Kevin Maxwell AKA TheMAXX:
I think “cutting edge” and “state of the art” are not the greatest terms to describe what we are talking about here. The other term for “cutting edge” is “bleeding edge” because it is usually not yet a proven technology. The same definition is usually applied to “state of the art”. I know the marketing people try to use the terms differently but to the die-hard technical people it usually means using a technology that is still getting the bus worked out of. I used to do A LOT of shows for a major computer forecasting company and the analysts used to joke with me that I could do their presentations because I had heard them so many times. When I first started doing their conferences I was only confused by the TLAs and the ETLAs.

I am all for the church buying quality so as not to waste money on junk and then have to buy again. But the biggest problem that I have seen is the lack of talent amongst the people trying to run any sound system in a church. I have had the church leadership call me in because of the lack of quality and consistency of the sound and I find one of the problems to be the people can’t mix. The hardest part of this is that there is usually one person who thinks they know everything and this is the person that the leadership is telling me is their worst problem. Then this person is the most resistant to being taught.

I agree with what Tom said – especially about the other issues (acoustics/mechanical) that some churches have but they seem to try and fix it with electronics when a D9 is what is really needed. Well maybe not a D9 but some other remodeling technique.  

BTW Tom are you the same TY from JH or are you the other TY?

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