Grayslake, IL—March 2018… A non-denominal Evangelical church with eight campuses in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, The Chapel is active, growing, and making a difference. Its largest congregation, in Grayslake, enjoys a first-rate worship team, led by Worship Pastor Trent Cowart. Now in his thirteenth year in the ministry with The Chapel and his third year at Grayslake, Cowart is a talented musician, singer, and songwriter with a strong technical background, having worked for, and eventually managed, a contracting and AV rental company before transitioning to the ministry.
Cowart’s combined musical and technical skills have helped the Grayslake campus take advantage of the latest digital technology. Recently, TASCAM’s US-20x020 USB audio/MIDI interface, which features a wealth of inputs and outputs, eight TASCAM Ultra-HDDA mic preamps, and a built-in DSP mixer, has become an increasingly important part of the band’s audio infrastructure.
“We’re using a couple of US-20x20s,” Cowart specifies. “We have a keyboard that has an amazing feel but the sounds aren’t so great, so I send MIDI from its 5-pin DIN MIDI Out to one of our US-20x20s. The MIDI data goes to a computer running Ableton Live, which I’m using as a sort of container for virtual instruments, such as Native Instruments Komplete. The audio from the virtual instruments comes back to the US-20x20, where we submix the instrument sounds and send the submix to our front-of-house and monitor console. So we’re using the US-20x20 as a MIDI interface, a submixer, and an audio interface.”
On the other side of the stage, near the drummer, Cowart has recently switched to a second US-20x20. “The interface we were using previously did not sound as good as the US-20x20, and it was unreliable,” he relates “I had to reset that piece more often than anything else we use. So we’ve switched to another US-20x20, which is functioning as an audio interface for a computer running Ableton Live. We use that Ableton station to play loops, control the clicks, and play backing tracks. We submix those in the interface and output four audio channels.”
Cowart is also planning to experiment with using the second US-20x20 to provide convenient monitoring near the drums. “I want to route my stereo in-ear monitor mix from our monitor console into the US-20x20 and route them out the headphone outputs for our drummer's in-ear monitors,” he muses.
Like countless musicians, Cowart started using TASCAM equipment back when it seemed everybody had a four-track TASCAM Portastudio. For a few years after that, he admits, he wasn’t paying much attention to the company. “But I feel what TASCAM has brought out in recent years has been great,” he enthuses. “I’ve been really impressed with the US-20x20. It sounds great, and it’s really easy to use. The programming was also very simple to set up. We had no problems, concerns, or questions. The US-20x20 has been super stable, too; we’ve had no issues. The design is good, and I like that TASCAM includes the rack ears. For the price, and for what it does, the US-20x20 blows away anything else. I’m really excited about seeing just how far we can take this.”