Houston Northwest Church is one of the city's major spiritual centers, a Baptist church that can host more than 2,000 congregants. Music is an integral part of their services, which combine a contemporary and traditional feel with music that can range from hymns and gospel to rock and country. To help support this wide variety of musical styles, Houston Northwest Church (HNW) recently installed a Soundcraft Si3 Digital Live Sound Console.
“We needed a new console because our old one was past the ten year mark and showing its age,” said Clint Collins, HNW media director. “It was a 48-channel console and I had every channel taken up with a need for more room to expand. With the old analog configuration I had to have three full racks of outboard EQs, compressors, limiters and other gear, and our patch bay was over 25 bays long. We were long overdue for an upgrade.”
Collins needed a console that could handle the large-scale requirements of an HNW service. “I run six wireless mics in addition to 10 ensemble mics, five choir mics and four wired solo mics. Our band configuration is 12 channels of drum mics, two electric and two acoustic guitars, bass, three keyboard players, percussion and sometimes even a brass section.”
“I looked into various digital consoles and kept coming back to the Soundcraft Si3,” Collins noted. “I have been an analog guy pretty much my whole engineering life, although I'm also a certified ProTools engineer, so being used to using nothing but analog desks and analog outboard gear, I needed something that would allow me to make the transition into the live digital world as quickly and easily as possible. I have never liked â€˜banking' through layers of parameters or searching for the source I am trying to mix quickly. My band often requires me to make changes on the spot and major changes between songs.”
“I needed a console that would, although digital, still have a fairly large footprint in order to make access to priority channels a breeze. The Si3 allows me to make multiple changes quickly and easily. Another advantage is that so many features are built right into the console, including all the onboard compression and limiting, reverb and time-based effects, and input/output virtual patching. All this allowed me to put my patch bay and outboard racks on a serious diet! It's now so much easier to recall setting for various songs and multiple services.”
“I love the quality of the sound and the onboard effects. The compressors sound great and the Lexicon effects are a tremendous step up from our previous time-based units. Also, I need to have the option to gate any channel across the instrument spectrum and the Si3 allows me to do this.”
The Si3's value was also a factor in Collins' decision. “Our church, like many others in today's economy, was under pressure to keep the budget for the upgrade as low as possible and make the most out of what we spent. The Si3 gave us a tremendous amount of features and room for expansion at a fraction of the cost of other digital consoles. Basically, the Si3 was my bridge into the digital mixing world and I would not have been able to do it if the Si3 didn't offer so much for the money.” Ease of use was another factor. “I am extremely pleased with how easy it has been to set up, configure and learn the functionality of the Si3 in a very small amount of time.”
The Soundcraft Si3 Digital Live Sound Console is designed for installed sound and tour sound and is ideal for houses of worship, music venues, theaters, broadcasting and other applications. The Si3 offers total ease of operation – above each fader is a Virtual Channel Strip with rotary encoders that change function according to the mode selected, providing ready access to key parameters. The console provides extensive connectivity and configuration options including 64 mic inputs, four stereo inputs, 24 bus outputs, four independent Lexicon processors and more.
HARMAN (www.harman.com) designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of audio and infotainment solutions for the automotive, consumer and professional markets – supported by 15 leading brands including AKG®, Harman Kardon®, Infinity®, JBL®, Lexicon® and Mark Levinson®. The Company is admired by audiophiles across multiple generations and supports leading professional entertainers and the venues where they perform. More than 20 million automobiles on the road today are equipped with HARMAN audio and infotainment systems. HARMAN has a workforce of about 11,000 people across the Americas, Europe and Asia, and reported sales of $3.2 billion for the last twelve months ended March 31, 2010. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol NYSE:HAR.
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