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Stage Audio Works breathes new life into Johannesburg church

Stage Audio Works breathes new life into Johannesburg church

Stage Audio Works breathes new life into Johannesburg church

South Africa:

Nested within the affluent suburb of Bryanston, Johannesburg, New Life Church was established in 1985 and is said to be an important part of the community. The building houses a 2000-seat auditorium as well as several seminar rooms, children’s facilities and much more. As part of its ongoing mission to provide the best worship experience possible, New Life has added livestreaming capabilities with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) based mixing system and upgraded its 15-year-old Yamaha M7CL console to a new Yamaha Rivage PM3, supplied and installed by Stage Audio Works.

Since 2012, when Stage Audio Works installed the d&b V-Series line array system into the church’s auditorium, the two teams have forged a strong relationship. “It was certainly the first V-Series system in SA, but it was actually one of the first anywhere,” recalled SAW’s CTO, Nathan Ihlenfeldt. “The serial numbers are sub-100. We basically specified it off the data sheet and it’s still doing a fantastic job.” The company has been New Life’s go-to technical resource ever since.

Stage Audio Works was called back in 2017 to upgrade all the house and stage lighting and then more recently during the Covid-19 pandemic to develop a live streaming solution. “Lots of churches started livestreaming during lockdown as way of remaining connected to their congregation,” noted Ihlenfeldt. “After discussion with the church leadership, we opted for a solution built around a DAW, which offers an in-the-box rather than a console-based workflow. A stable, server grade PC was supplied with a PCIe Dante card, with Neumann monitoring and Focusrite Rednet interfacing. Enabled by the Dante network, it fits nicely into their existing infrastructure and is easy to manage, extremely flexible and keeps costs contained. It’s been very successful and is now an integral part of their setup.”

“The decision to replace the Yamaha M7CL console was a pre-emptive measure rather than a reactionary one,” explained Ihlenfeldt. “It was still going strong after 15 years of solid service – a real testament to the reliability and robustness of Yamaha’s engineering. However, as the musical capacity of the church has evolved, it was time for an update that would allow for future growth.”

Stage Audio Works was able to reuse certain elements of the previous infrastructure, such as the stage boxes that had been upgraded to digital some time ago, resulting in a cost-efficient and streamlined integration process. “It has all worked out very well,” said Ihlenfeldt. “We’ve significantly upgraded New Life’s AV and broadcast capabilities over the years as the church has developed, and we’re proud to have been a part of their journey. Regarding the console, the PM3 offers the same functionality and mixing channels as Yamaha’s flagship, the PM10, but its compact form factor and intuitive control surface makes it a perfect fit for house of worship applications. New Life Church can look forward to another 15 years of reliable sound mixing in a future-proof format.”

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