SSL works around the clock at IHOPKC
SSL works around the clock at IHOPKC
To help meet the challenges of delivering non-stop music and prayer to worshippers and streaming to the internet, the USA’s evangelical International House of Prayer of Kansas City (IHOPKC) has installed a pair of Solid State Logic Live series digital mixing consoles in its Global Prayer Room. A few miles away, in Grandview, Missouri, another pair of SSL Live desks handle house and stage sound, as well as web streaming, at IHOPKC’s Forerunner Church.
A pair of SSL Live L200 consoles, one at front of house and another at the monitor position, were installed at the Forerunner Church first. “We were definitely due for an audio upgrade, so we did a big fundraiser and got a nice sized budget and started demoing different consoles,” recalled Nicholas Kramer, IHOPKC director of sound. “We had a team of advisors talking about what options were out there and what we needed. Sound quality was a very high priority. We demoed a few different consoles and the SSL just smoked them.”
Kramer elaborated, “We had about two weeks with each console, so I was able to get intimate with them. Obviously, there are pros and cons with all consoles, but in terms of sonic quality, the SSL was just leaps and bounds ahead. As far as the sonic ‘picture,’ the SSL Live was just a little bit wider, a little bit taller and a little bit deeper, and more transparent. Plus, you could just do a lot more with the console.”
A few months after the L200s were installed at the Forerunner Church, the church also installed an SSL Live L300 at front of house with an L100 for monitors at IHOPKC’s Global Prayer Room. At the Forerunner Church location, the FOH and monitor desks interface via SSL Net I/O BLII Bridge units over a Dante network, with the monitor desk controlling gain staging from the stagebox. But at the Global Prayer Room, which operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the main stage snake is split five ways.
“Three of those splits go to front of house, one for the L300, one for an analogue console and one for the L100,’ explained Kramer. “The two front of house consoles are in parallel.” The two SSL Live consoles receive stage inputs over MADI.
The remaining splits go to the broadcast centre, where night-and-day prayer and worship is streamed to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide each year. The GPR web streams to a dedicated platform, but weekly services are also streamed live from Forerunner Church. IHOPKC reports that 215 nations access its online resources through over one million website visits annually.
While there is currently no interconnectivity between the two locations, “We might move to a full Dante network,” Kramer explained. “We already have a dedicated fibre run that connects all of our buildings.”
In the Global Prayer Room, the L300 drives a JBL VTX line array. In the larger Forerunner Church sanctuary, the church operates a stereo Meyer Sound point-and-shoot box system. “The system sounds incredible, so we’re spoiled there; it’s a top-of-the-line PA,” commented Kramer. “We’re using Sennheiser for our in-ear monitor packs and we’re using Shure wireless for handheld mics.” There are approximately 60 inputs from stage at both locations. As for outboard processing, Kramer uses a Teletronix LA-2A levelling amplifier on the preacher. “He has some voice issues, so we’ve spent a lot of money making him comfortable when he talks, and he loves it,” the director of sound shared. “For everything else we’ve got a Waves SoundGrid Server and a full bundle of plug-ins to sauce up the band.”
But whenever possible he tries to do as much processing as he can on the console. “All my de-essing is on the console and I’m using the SSL Stereo Bus Compressors on all my buses I have a separate master bus with separate processing for if we’re live on our broadcast web stream, but that’s the extent of any output complications," he furthered.
IHOPKC and Forerunner Church employ over a thousand staff and there is a similar number of students at the IHOP University, which encompasses the Forerunner School of Ministry, Forerunner Music Academy and Forerunner Media Institute. Staff and students are expected to spend at least 25 hours a week in the prayer room.
“Each 24-hour period is divided into 12 two-hour prayer sessions, each led by a full worship team. Basically, there’s a band for every two-hour block,” concluded Kramer. “We elect 14 fulltime worship teams and they’ll take about six sets a week. There is literally live music for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”