Brian Poole is technical director at Elevation Church and has worked closely with Sennheiser to ensure that the clarity and sonic integrity of the facility is all that it can be, no matter which campus congregants are attending. Recently, Elevation added five Neumann KK 205 microphone capsules to its arsenal of live performance and recording tools. Poole discusses how he has helped Elevation continue to deliver superior sound with Sennheiser and Neumann.
Can you describe some of the challenges that go along with the growth that Elevation has experienced?
We are six years old and have six campuses in the Charlotte area. All in all, we are running at about 10 or 11 thousand people every weekend. With that growth, there have been a lot of rapid changes we have had to make, especially considering that audio is a very big part of what we do. Sennheiser has been there for us the entire time and has provided the best product and support we could ask for — and even more so now that we are endorsed. A big challenge as a multi-campus church is ensuring that we will have gear that we know will be reliable and sound great. Four of our campuses are portable, so we are lugging gear in and out all weekend; when we plug it all in and turn it on, we know it is going to work. Sennheiser has also helped us through our RF coordination, which can be very complex.
How familiar are you with Neumann microphone capsules?
We have always loved Neumann microphones and already had the KK 105 capsules on our pastor's [Steven Furtick] speaking mic with a Sennheiser SKM 5200 transmitter. Our pastor does a lot of singing as well, and the performance of the SKM 5200 / KK 105 combination has been fantastic. By making a Neumann capsule that works with an SKM 2000 transmitter is really a game changer for us. Now we can have Neumann sound not only for the pastor, but all our other lead singers and it is a very economical solution.
Tell me about your first impressions with the KK 205s.
We just received them three weeks ago, and they are already on our primary lead vocal microphones [used in combination with the Sennheiser SKM 2000 handheld transmitters] at our two permanent campuses. One of these campuses is a warehouse with low ceilings, and the acoustics aren't ideal. The KK 205 has a supercardioid pattern so we are able to get plenty of gain before feedback — this is huge for us because we like it loud and we like it to sound good. I was 100 percent comfortable that I could take the KK 205 right to the stage without going through weeks of rehearsals first.
For our Easter service, the new Neumann capsules went into our broadcast facility. We have a big spoken word element in our Easter service, and this is the first thing right out of the gate during our worship experience. All our main worship leaders were on the KK 205s and the feed went out to all six of our campuses. It was also put online for everyone to see and participate in. Everything worked out great and all the voices were very rich.
Do you intend to use the KK 205s in other applications?
We do a lot of recording both for CDs and streaming on our website. In fact, our worship band has just signed a pretty big record deal and we expect the KK 205s and the SKM 2000s will be used on future live recordings. Our first live album and live DVD was a big deal for us and it is very exciting that Sennheiser has released a â€˜Neumann for the Masses,' if you will.
How has your experience been with Sennheiser overall, including with the new Neumann KK 205s?
First of all, Sennheiser has rock solid RF and the sound quality is best of the best. We've got 36 channels in our auditorium of Sennheiser wireless and I've never had a single issue of anything dropping out. Now, with the KK 205s, we can put Neumann performance in the reach of all our singers, increasing the overall quality of our worship experience. Audio quality has always been an incredibly important component of worship for Elevation Church and the KK 205 capsules truly represent quality for the masses — the cost/performance ratio cannot be beat. All in all, our relationship with Sennheiser has been fantastic and we feel very blessed.
Brad Hudson, Worship Leader at Elevation Church, uses a KK 205 on a SKM 2000 during Easter rehearsals at Elevation's Blakeney campus.