Calvary Chapel Old Bridge in central New Jersey recently updated its broadcast facilities with the addition of a Solid State Logic Live L100 console that joins an Live L200 console at front of house that was installed during a PA system overhaul in 2017.
Wired! Ministry, the church’s audio-visual technology department, explains that it chose the L100 based on the performance and compatibility of the two Live consoles. “We’ve been very happy with our L200. We have it paired with an L-Acoustics speaker system and it sounds awesome. So, when our previous broadcast console was reaching end of life it made sense to go with the L100,” says Wired! Ministry’s Marshall Garcia, who oversees the ministry. “It’s nice to be able to swap files between the two consoles. They speak nicely to each other, and it’s great for training. It was a no-brainer for us.”
Wired! Ministry is responsible for the broadcast of four services per week, on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as special events, via livestream, on YouTube and Facebook. The ministry’s main broadcast engineer, Nicholas Dunphy, notes, “A lot of churches will have a compressor on a aux sending out to broadcast. But we wanted to go one step better and send out a mix that’s specifically for the broadcast audience. Broadcast became incredibly important in the last year or so with Covid-19 and we wanted to make sure we’re doing a great job for the folks at home.”
The L100 in the broadcast booth, which overlooks the stage in the church’s 1,000-seat auditorium, is connected to the L200 over MADI. “We’re using the preamps on the L200 at front-of-house and we’re sending those upstairs to the L100. The preamps sound amazing,” says Dunphy. Services, which feature a contemporary band incorporating drums, bass, electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards and several vocalists, are also recorded, enabling virtual soundchecks at both console positions via a Dante network.
Churches typically need to be conscious of their spending, says Garcia. “The L200 was very church-friendly, which made it very appealing to us. It fit into our overall budget nicely and it sounds great.” When it came time to budget for the L100, he says, “Because of what you get with the SSL Live, with all the onboard processing, we didn’t have to worry about purchasing any outboard gear. It’s more than meeting our needs and we’re very happy with it.”
“I really love all the plug-ins that are on the console, especially the SSL Bus Compressor,” Dunphy adds. “It’s amazing for the broadcast feed. And on the SSL Channel Compressor, there’s a tube filter emulation that sounds amazing. We put a little bit of compression on the whole mix just to make it a little less dynamic for the end user.”
To bring a sense of realism to the dedicated broadcast mix, he says, “We have two microphones on the ceiling and two on the stage in the main auditorium. We put in just enough of those microphones so that you feel like you’re in the room. We’re able to listen to what the end-user is getting and can adjust the mix so that it feels like you’re at the service in your home.”
As things have turned out, the quality of the livestream has helped the church grow during the pandemic, Garcia reports. “In our area there were a lot of churches that weren’t livestreaming. Some churches closed down and people were looking for an outlet. They found our website and were enjoying viewing the live services and how it sounded. So, when things opened up, we had a flood of new people from other churches that we hadn’t met before. It’s been a blessing.”