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Lessons learned in the Idlewild

Lessons learned in the Idlewild

Lessons learned in the Idlewild


With a 5,000-seat sanctuary, Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida can very much be considered a megachurch. The church recently upgraded its audio infrastructure to ensure better speech intelligibility in its reverberant main hall and to allow for better training for new AV operators. This was accomplished with the installation of several DiGiCo consoles and solutions, provided by Blackhawk Audio.

‘We had two main goals we wanted to achieve with the next generation of audio technology we would use at the church: it had to be technology that was being widely used by top professionals, and it had to be able to act as a teaching platform, because that is a major mission for us—to educate future generations of people who will work with professional audio, video and lighting systems, in houses of worship and elsewhere,’ explained Ryan Kindle, Idlewild Baptist Church’s creative director.

The installation comprises an SD5 console for front of house, an SD12 for monitors and an SD5B for the church’s broadcast studio, as well as four SD-Racks, an Orange Box multichannel interface and a complete Waves processing bundle. Kindle noted that the SD consoles were the only ones the church found that could allow two people to comfortably work together behind the desk.

‘The consoles are laid out in such a manner that you can move from right to left and learn the console in a very logical fashion,’ Kindle added. ‘It’s a great way to learn the console and learn audio.’

Kristy Reed, production director and head of audio at the church, explained that four SD-Racks were installed. ‘One is at the stage and is being used as the stagebox for the 64-piece orchestra,’ she said. ‘From there, we have a three-way mic split, with close to 200 channels and 54 recessed mic-input stage pockets, to FOH, monitors, and broadcast. The DiGiCo consoles and Optocore network have made that situation much easier to handle, with all of that now on fibre to the consoles. With the Orange Box and the Dante card, we have created a superhighway of on and off ramps to the system.’

‘With the SD-Racks and Optocore, you just plug something in one time and it’s available everywhere,’ furthered Kindle. He stated that the BroaMan Route66 Optocore AutoRouter is a key component of the church’s new audio infrastructure and that the DiGiCo consoles seamlessly integrate with it.

Another pair of SD-Racks are located in the church’s machine room, managing the input from 36 channels of Sennheiser 6000 Series wireless microphones and eight channels of Sennheiser G4 in-ear wireless monitors. The fourth SD-Rack is located in the broadcast studio.

Reed also discussed the first mix she heard through the SD5: ‘It was as though a veil had been lifted off the sound in the room. Even the non-technical people in the room notice it. [The band] love the clarity and openness the improved resolution brings. Also, the room used to get muddy even at 65dB, but the console’s pristine fidelity paired with the Waves bundle has really improved how we process speech and done wonders for intelligibility.’

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