May 31, 2007

Houses of Worship


--Centrepiece of Septon Harman Pro upgrade for 6,000-capacity Swedish house of worship

Founded in 1983 by pastor, Ulf Ekman in Uppsala, the Word of Life Church is today a worldwide organisation.

The focal point is the massive Livets Ord auditorium in the city (located to the north of Stockholm) which seats over 6,000 people and hosts regular seminars and conferences (as well as Sunday services). The Centre also functions a Bible institute with over 9,000 graduates, printing its own books and course literature and producing audio-cassettes, videos, and television programmes

Thanks to an evolving audio visual infrastructure the church is able to take its message globally to members through television and internet broadcast.

The latest upgrade has seen the introduction of a 48 mono/4 stereo Soundcraft Series FIVE FOH mixing console, a 48-way BSS active splitter rack and Soundweb London BLU-80 and Crown I-Tech amplifiers. The newly integrated equipment was a co-operative effort between the church’s head of technical services, David Grunditz and freelance installation contractor Kjell Lundstrom, with support from the Swedish Harman Pro distributors, Septon AB.

Over the years the beautiful venue, clad throughout in natural ash, has undergone several technical upgrades — largely to accommodate the church’s progressive growth — but two years ago Grunditz sensed an urgent need for improved sound mixing and signal splitting between the PA, monitors and TV feeds.

“We contacted Christer Lidberg at Septon and everything just started rolling from there,” he said. “We ended up changing a lot of equipment — principally the FOH desk, moving our old desk and sub-mixer to the TV broadcast room, while prior to this we only had a passive splitter — and frankly it was a mess. I saw a real need to replace this.”

Having mixed audio for TV and worked with Soundweb for many years in churches around Sweden Kjell knew the BSS MSR604-II four-channel active splitter solution would provide good signal for the audio on TV. Of the 48 channels available in the splitter racks the first 40-channels contain twin power supplies for built-in redundancy.

At the same time David Grunditz was adamant he wanted to match the classic Soundcraft SM20 that holds the monitor position with the same marque at front-of-house. “The live music includes large choirs, and bands with full string and horn sections — and so we simply needed more channels,” he said. “All the inputs are in use.”

The house technician was entirely unequivocal. “This was the perfect desk for us,” he said. “The church relies on a lot of volunteer work so we needed a console that would be easy to get started on.”

The EQ and the hi-pass and lo-pass filters were particularly impressive, while the VCA’s were also easy to change, he said.

“The Series FIVE is perfectly set up for live PA because you can see exactly what you are doing on the board and reconfigure it as necessary. With the Mute Groups too, you can see at a glance which channels are shut down. The desk has a good feel and musically the sound is very clear.”

Livets Ord’s use of the aux groups is confined largely to FX — particularly when playing a CD, with the need to send a feed to the monitor desk. The same is true for the interpretation and translation from the wireless system on stage.

Although Livets Ord will continue to run with the PA which was installed back in 1994 and consists of three clusters with the subs built into the stage, they have made the decision to invest in Crown I-Tech 4000 and I-Tech 6000 amplifiers, to take advantage of both the power, and the onboard DSP.

Meanwhile, the system EQ and delay settings are stored in the DSP of the new BSS Soundweb London BLU-80, which sends feeds to the interpretation booths (offering ten language translation) as well as the balcony and annexe rooms.

A further feed is dedicated to television. “This means that for a simple event we don’t need a mixing guy on the console back at the TV studio,” says David.

Original BSS Soundweb 9088ii’s function between the stage and the translation booths, ducking the stage language and mixing the English translation in the interpretation booth with the ambient mics in the auditorium to maintain the realism; other Soundweb ‘Greens’ are dedicated to the TV duplication room (for DVD production etc).

The remainder of the technical infrastructure is also impressive with an LSC Maxim controlling four lighting bars, with generics and Robe 575 moving heads, while there are two 3m x 4m projection screens and three fixed position Ikegami cameras a handheld.

But Livets Ord are far from finished. They are presently digging an underground tunnel to make the multicore runs back to the Series FIVE even more efficient.

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