Will Smith, Director of HOW Sound
Department, Calvary Church of Santa
Ana with the DiGiCo SD8.
Santa Ana, CA (October 19, 2010)—Following a 2006 remodelling of its main worship center, the Calvary Church of Santa Ana recently upgraded its audio system again with a slew of DiGiCo equipment.
Facilities manager John Jackson made the decision and added not only an SD8 and DiGiRack, but also a new SD9, sight-unseen, as well. In the main worship venue, the SD8 and DiGiRack, in tandem with a newly outfitted d&b audiotechnik sound system—consisting of 9 x d12 amps powering a three-piece line array, LCR, with two subs per side—proved to be perfect solution to what had been a traditionally problematic room.
“The room was built in the early ‘70s and was designed so that the pastor would be able to look the parishioners in the eyes and see all the faces,” Jackson explained. “That was the consideration more than the acoustics. It has a high ceiling in the center and glass along the sides, which only adds to the problem. I’ve been here since 1975, and I’ve seen a lot of PA’s come in and out of here, and this is the only one that’s been able to address the issues. And with the SD8, we used to have to spend an hour or three EQing the pulpit mic, which picks up everything all around it; once we got the SD8 turned on, it was literally 5 minutes and we were completely happy with how it sounded. And how transparent it was.”
“One of the other things that was a lifesaver for me,” said Will Smith, director of the HOW sound department, “was that some of our volunteer engineers had a tendency to over-EQ on the analog console. Having that visual representation of what you’re doing in the EQ section on the SD8 has improved the mix quality of all the engineers. It sounds simple, but it really made a big difference going from the analog console to the digital console.”
The facility also go a companion DiGiRack. “One of the reasons we went with the bigger DiGiRack,” said Smith, “was that we needed more inputs than the smaller rack could handle and we wanted it to be a permanent install. Typically, we use only about 24 inputs—acoustic piano, vocal on the piano, violin, flute, 8-channel drum kit, bass, electric and acoustic guitars, and 3-4 additional vocals, 2 main pulpit mics and various wireless mics. Every once in a while, we’ll have several full bands come in that need more, sometimes as many as 56 at a time. The DiGiRack is worth every penny as far as we’re concerned.”
With the main console decision behind them, they moved on to seeking out an additional system to place in an adjacent production space, which became the SD9, bought sight unseen. “Ironically, since we purchased it we haven’t even used it on the original scenario,” said Jackson. “We have a large touring rig that we take out in the field. We loved the SD9 so much that we’ve been using it on our Monday night summer concert series, in the sports field outside of main sanctuary!”