The Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas has a congregation of more than 40,000 members spread across five campuses, which presents challenges when it comes to P.A. system design. Second Baptist media director Mark Sepulveda and systems integrators Maxx Technology came up with a solution that would enable live sound production in multiple locations by combining touring and installation methodologies.
To gain some insight on systems, Sepulveda met with renowned audio industry figure and Digidesign ICON user George Massenburg. “I spent the better part of a day with George, and he instilled a great deal of confidence in me regarding Digidesign mixers,” Sepulveda says.
To handle the demands of multiple locations, Second Baptist’s VENUE system is fully cased and travels as one unit. The system consists of D-Show Main and Sidecar mixing consoles, an FOH rack equipped with expanded analog and digital I/O, the HDx Record/Playback Option to interface with Pro Tools HD and the ECx Ethernet Option to allow remote control of VENUE via a Mac or PC laptop. The companion Stage Rack includes 48-input and 24-output connections. All of the units travel as a composite system throughout the campus for use in other buildings for all high-profile events.
For the installation, Maxx Technology worked around the church’s existing analog system. Neal Watson, general manager at Maxx Technology, explains: “We provided a quick-connect interface for the VENUE system in an area called the C Gym, a facility on campus where Maxx installed a complete AVL system last summer. C Gym is handled by an analog mixing system that feeds analog drivelines to Crown I-Tech power. However, a second set of digital drivelines were included in the conduit to facilitate digital connection to the VENUE. The I-Techs are programmed to automatically sense digital connection and give the VENUE digital connection priority for the system drive. This gives us the ability to quickly change over to the VENUE, which is a far superior mixing platform to the analog mixer. It also offers all the sonic benefits of digital interconnectivity.”
Sepulveda used the VENUE system’s virtual soundcheck feature during the church’s Easter Sunday event rehearsals. Handling nearly 50 RF channels, Sepulveda processed vocals using the VENUE system’s TDM plug-ins. Before the choir and orchestra had exited the stage, Sepulveda switched the console into Virtual Soundcheck mode and began refining his mix and plug-in settings using Pro Tools playback, mixing nearly 700 performers in a short span of time.
“In a very short time I went from being a critic to an advocate,” Sepulveda says. “VENUE is rock solid, and I believe it represents where the digital mixer industry is headed. The sheer number of emails I receive about the sound quality of the events we do on VENUE is direct testimonial to the sound quality and flexibility of the system.”