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Sagemont Church upgrades to SSL L350

Sagemont Church upgrades to SSL L350

Sagemont Church upgrades to SSL L350

USA:

Associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, Houston’s Sagemont Church was established in 1966 and, at the end of 2020, introduced a contemporary worship music service to appeal to a younger congregation. To meet the demands of the new modern service, the church upgraded the ageing sound system in its 2,500-seat sanctuary, installing an SSL Live L350 digital mixing console and replacing the PA speakers.

“We have a new pastor, a new worship leader and a whole new direction, and we wanted to do modern contemporary rock ‘n’ roll-style worship music,” explained Evan Warren, who was appointed lead audio engineer in October 2020. “But our PA and console were pushing 10 years old and falling apart. The faders on our old console were moving on their own and the old PA just wasn’t cutting it.” Texas-based AVL equipment supplier and integrator Hairel Enterprises installed the SSL Live desk and the new d&b audiotechnik KSL speaker system all on the same day.

Warren can handle FOH, monitors and a broadcast streaming mix from the 24-fader L350, which offers 96 channel preamps. The church’s new system also includes a Fader Tile – a self-contained, 12-fader console extension – acting as a second operator position managing monitor mixes for the band, which can include up to a dozen musicians and singers. “We have a monitor station and we’re running the SSL Live SOLSA app on a PC for the monitor control. But I wanted to be able to run with one engineer if I had to, if the monitor engineer had to step away.”

The improvement in audio quality as a result of the upgrade has had an impact on his mixing, reported Warren. “The crazy thing is that I don’t need to do a lot of my ‘tricks’ that I’ve used over the years. I’ve stopped parallel compressing vocals and drums. Between the SSL and the d&b rig, everything is so clear, punchy and defined that I don’t need to force things up in the mix anymore; they just have their place.”

The first Sunday service is now for the older church members and features a more traditional band and choir. The second service is driven by contemporary worship music. “It’s an interesting challenge for me,” added Warren. “I have to mix two very different styles for two very different audiences, so I start from two different showfiles. We’re still in the early stages, but we have an exciting new direction and all the equipment we could ask for.”



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