GREYTOWN, KWAZULU-NATAL, SOUTH AFRICA — More than 200,000 men from all over South Africa congregated for the Mighty Men Conference 2009, one of the country's largest annual Christian events, to listen to minister Angus Buchan, farmer, writer and missionary of Shalom Ministries. For the first time, though, this year's gathering was also broadcast live on local and international cable networks, posing daunting challenges for the event's audio crew. The crew for the event relied on Aviom's Pro16® monitor mixing system as a solution for stage monitoring to minimize stage volume for the live broadcast.
The audio crew was well aware of the equipment's capability, having used Aviom's Personal Mixers at the 2008 Mighty Men Conference. While this year's event used the same 360-degree audio setup as last year, the current audio needs were drastically different.
The biggest dilemma they faced was a major feedback problem from the monitors and mics for the conference's ministers and the six-member house band, a standard worship group consisting of bass, drums, keys, electric guitar, vocals and acoustic guitars. The crew needed to keep communication and monitoring clear while not interfering with the front-of-house mix or the mix going out to the viewers at home.
"Since the event was being recorded as well as broadcast live around the world, we needed to ensure as quiet a stage as possible," explains Nik Fairclough, owner of Northwind Recording, system designer for the event. "All guitar and other amps were below the stage enclosed in gobos. The amps seen on stage were purely aesthetic. All the players in the worship band came from churches where Aviom systems are a standard part of the audio design so everyone was comfortable and familiar with the quality and flexibility of the Aviom system.”
Northwind designed a monitor system that was based around a Yamaha® M7CL digital console with an Aviom16/o-Y1 A-Net® Card inserted in a console expansion slot. The digital signal and power for the six A-16II Personal Mixers on stage was distributed by an Aviom A16-D Pro A-Net Distributor positioned under the drum riser. Two of the Personal Mixers were hooked up to Sennheiser G2 wireless IEM packs, which were used by the worship leaders. The PA for the event, the largest line array ever used in South Africa, was designed exclusively with L-Acoustics products.
"Thanks to the Personal Mixers, the recording for the event was cleaner due to low stage noise," says Fairclough. "The PA sounded better because we didn't have to fight with a second PA monitor system being used by the worship band for its monitor wedges."
In addition to enhancing sound quality and maintaining perfect balance between the PA and front of house for attendees as well as the viewers at home, Fairclough says the Aviom Pro16 system contributed much more to the success of the event.
"I like the size and punch that Aviom delivers to the sound as well as the headroom and clarity," Fairclough continues. "The A-16II's ability to recall settings is a great feature. Each player can also dial in exactly what he needs, and that's a major plus. It kept stage communications to a minimum so attendees could focus on what they were there to do—pray, praise and worship."
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