Over the years, I have found that the largest impediment to good sound in worship houses is usually the operator of the sound system. I can’t count the times I’ve heard a competent sound system reduced to the role of a sonic bludgeon-spewing out muddy voices and shrill feedback. Often, those saddled with the system’s pilot seat are volunteers who have little grasp of how to properly operate a console. With the introduction of the Sanctuary series S-14 ($1,199) and its 1,000W powered sibling the S-14P ($1,799), Peavey has delivered a small-format console designed to simplify and streamline the use of a console in worship applications.
Product PointsApplications: Installation
Key Features: 12-channel; onboard soft-knee compressor; Mid-Morph EQ; Automix; Feedback Ferret feedback suppressor; onboard DSP
Price: XS-14 – $1,199, S-14P – $1,799
Contact: Peavey at 601-483-5365, Web Site.
The S-14 is a 12-channel board with 10 mono mic/line channels and two stereo line channels. Devoid of subgroups, the channels feed directly to a stereo master. There are two aux sends for monitors (post fade, post EQ) on all channels and a third send on the mono channels for internal effects or an additional out. The first four channels on the board are what Peavey refers to as Automix channels featuring a priority system that allows a pastor’s lavalier mic for instance, to be set as a priority input over a pulpit or lectern mic. These four channels also have soft-knee compressors with adjustable threshold.
All the channels have an input trim, three bands of EQ and the previously mentioned aux sends. It should be noted that the midrange on the channel EQ is what Peavey calls a Mid-Morph. Where many midrange controls are either fixed or sweepable, the Mid-Morph either cuts at 225 Hz (to reduce mud) or boosts at 4 kHz (to increase clarity). Channel 10 on the S-14 is called the ambient channel and is designed for what I call “Amen” duty. The S-14 routes this channel only to the record outputs so it can be used for congregational singing without increasing the possibility of feedback.
The last two channels are called “Media Inputs.” These stereo channels have features useful for prerecorded accompaniment tracks. In addition to a switch that selects stereo, left or right track only for the main system. It has a feature called monitor blend to control the balance of vocal and accompaniment tracks in the monitors. The master section of the S-14 features master faders for monitors and stereo mains, a nice LED ladder, a digital reverb, noise reduction, compression, a vocal enhancer and Peavey’s proprietary Feedback Ferret, a feedback suppressor.
I used the mixer for a PA gig for “Dora the Explorer” addressing a crowd of 500 – 600 excited kids. The S-14 perfectly fit the bill. I gave the actress playing Dora a wireless lav and assigned it to have priority over the other mics on the stage. I used compression on the handheld mic and I used the vocal enhancer to increase intelligibility in the ambient environment of the mall. The Feedback Ferret worked quite well and allowed me to get the lav up to a very workable level.
With a range of features that make it very suitable for worship applications, the Peavey S-14 is a great idea for those situations where the operators need a little help. It is akin to a Swiss Army Knife of mixers and has many features that will assist in everyday use but I really miss a sweepable midrange EQ.