The new House of Hope Worship Center has opened on Chicago's South Side with an 80-channel Allen & Heath ML5000 automated VCA mixing console installed in its broadcast studio. The Allen & Heath console was supplied and installed by Audio Analysts Inc. (www.audioanalysts.com) as part of a $1.4 million custom sound system.
According to Mark Graham, senior consultant at Wrightson, Johnson, Haddon & Williams, Inc. (WJHW), the design and consulting firm for the project, the Allen & Heath ML5000 not only met the budget, but also integrated 80 channels of high-quality console into one cohesive, automated package. "We didn't just want to bus two consoles together, and our preference was that the console operate as one 80-channel console and not as separate consoles," Graham explains. "We have used the ML5000 and ML4000 with success on previous projects, so we're familiar with the product."
Located on an upper floor behind the stage area, the broadcast studio handles audio and video for the House of Hope's weekly televised services, seen in 200,000 local area homes, and also feeds a recording and duplication facility within the building. "From the broadcast area, they send audio and video over fiber to a recording area, where they record direct to CD and DVD," says Graham. "They start duplicating after the service, so people can get recordings of the message." Video is also fed to two 19x11-foot screens on either side of the stage.
With so many inputs to handle, onboard automation was an important design consideration. Graham continues, "An 80-channel console should have some automation. With the ML5000, it is possible to have commands sent from the broadcast video area to trigger certain presets or mute scenes, so that when they cue video and play it to the big screens, they could automate some of the console functions, giving the operator one less concern." The ML5000 offers onboard MIDI-based automation of mute and VCA assignment settings and snapshot memories under Windows-based software control.
The ML5000 console, comprising a 32-input main chassis with two logic- and audio-linked, independently powered 24-channel sidecars, is expected to handle a full orchestra for some services in addition to the worship band, singers and choir. "They typically have a full praise group singing and at least 150 members in the choir, fully miked. When the orchestra comes in, they'll fill 80 channels," says Graham. The band includes a large drum kit, percussion, guitars, bass and keyboards. There are additionally 12 channels of wireless microphones.
For further information on Allen & Heath board, visit www.allen-heath.com.