Calvary Spokane’s Vi1 Console and the 3 Headed Audio Network

It’s been a few weeks since we put in the Soundcraft Vi1 in Calvary Spokane. This was an inspiring project that incorporated 3 different audio networks and my new favorite digital console to get the job done. The job was to address a common issue many churches face today. Our mandate was to remake their sanctuary sound system into something that could be easily managed by volunteers.

In northern Spokane you’ll find the welcoming campus of Calvary Spokane. In a re-purposed mall, this 2500 seat sanctuary is flanked by a massive family center with a full kitchen and coffee bar, as well as youth and children’s ministry rooms fully equipped to engage today’s families. Calvary’s 56 channel Allen & Heath ML5000 analog console presented a formidable challenge for training volunteers. For many years the church resorted to hiring in professional engineers to fly the console on Sunday mornings.

Recently a new generation of tech savvy musicians had entered their ministry internship program and were eager to engage the media ministry at Calvary. And so we werecalled in to design a system that would empower the musicians, who were taking turns leading the Worship service, to mix for each other. After carefully considering a number of approaches, we settled on the Soundcraft Vi1 for two main reasons: Number one, it sounds phenomenal and two, its so easy to train volunteers on this desk. In the end the Vi1 proved to be an intuitive mix surface, providing the powerful routing I needed to configure the complex system, and the ability for the volunteer crew to easily re-configure custom fader banks for each of the operators and their associated worship team. And here’s the amazing part: We had them up and running after a couple hours of training. That’s pretty remarkable considering how new they were to mixing sound.

The new console was only the beginning. It attached to a Soundcraft Compact Stagebox with MADI. We then integrated an Digigram Ethersound card into the Soundcraft Compact Stagebox networked to a Yamaha DME24N (speaker processing) with an Avitran AVY-ES100. From there Digigram ES network nodes provide multichannel audio feeds to and from the video production room and nearby family center. The Avitran AVY-ES100 also connects to a PC running Protools at FOH via an ASIO over ethernet connection as an affordable way to track and playback rehearsals and services via the Vi1’s second input on every input channel.

In the weeks that have followed I’ve had a solitary call to get instruction on splitting the wireless lag to multiple channels strips. Something we were able to walk though over the phone in a minutes. This is a testimony to the straight forward operation of this desk, especially for this generation of tech savvy artist/mixers.

Footnote: During the integration we setup remote access to the Yamaha DME24 as well as the Ethersound network configuration application. Should Calvary Spokane require exceptional routing one day, I will be able to take care of that request from my home office. The benefit: We take care of the technical burden so that those mixing sound can focus on their artistry and creating the conditions for engagement.

If you’re interested to see the network layout click here.

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