Founded in the middle of the last century, Concordia Lutheran Church, in San Antonio, TX, has grown to become one of the denomination’s largest congregations nationwide. Located on a nearly 50-acre complex, the church now has more than 6,000 members. Not surprisingly, the church’s worship-technology needs have expanded with the congregation.
The problem was a common one: Concordia Lutheran was growing into the 21st century using 20th-century technology. That was addressed late last year when AV systems integrator and live-event producer Inspirmedia Productions installed a Roland OHRCA M-5000 Live Mixing Console, the hub of a new audio-management system that also includes the Roland M-200i 32-channel mixer, Roland M-48 live personal mixer, and Roland R-1000 48-Track Recorder/Player, all using the Roland Ethernet Audio Communication (REAC) protocol, and all linked through Dante networking. Since then, the church’s large audio input counts from the stage and other sources have become far easier and more reliable to manage.
“Before we installed the M-5000 and the other Roland components, the church was regularly working with over one hundred inputs from the stage alone, as well as other audio sources such as CDs and DVDs,” said Phil Grimpo, owner and executive director of Inspirmedia Productions, which is based in Lincoln, NE. “They had been using a small digital mixer that only let them work with 48 channels at a time, and the snakes they were using from the stage to the front of house were not even being manufactured anymore. It was a situation that really needed updating to be able to stay even with their growth as a church.”
Grimpo said they were able to use the church’s existing Cat-5 cabling infrastructure and moved all of the stage inputs onto REAC lines, allowing the house mixer to work with up to 80 input sources at a time. A fourth REAC cable connects the M-5000 with a Roland M-200i 32-channel mixer, via a Roland S-1608 digital snake, and is used by the church’s worship pastor to remotely mix a webcast audio feed from the stage on a laptop computer. The M-5000 also feeds the Roland M-48 live personal mix system used for monitors. “Before, they often had to completely reconfigure the stage inputs and monitor inputs before services every week, depending upon the nature of that week’s services,” Grimpo said. “Now, the M-5000’s internal ability to repatch everything virtually and store that information has made everything so much easier for them. We also set it up so that their wireless microphone inputs, and other input sources, such as click tracks and loops for the band or content from Blu-ray discs, can be sent to the M-5000 via Dante.”
Adam Countryman, Concordia Lutheran Church’s director of worship arts, lauds the M-5000’s flexibility. “The options are endless, and different operators are able to customize it for their needs,” he said. “So in a worship setting where more than one engineer is running the system within a week, it is great to have customization available for each engineer’s preferences.”
He’s also appreciative of how a Roland ecosystem can streamline the church’s workflows. “What used to take hours of setup, patching, and soundcheck now is ready to go with the hook up of one Ethernet cable,” he said. “Our keyboard player’s rig used to take up six to eight direct boxes and a ton of ugly cables. Now we need simply one cable. It saves a lot of time and makes everything cleaner on stage.”
Countryman says that the integration of a Roland R-1000 48-Track Recorder/Player with the M-5000 console has produced significant synergies. “The R-1000 is helpful in terms of playback, such as allowing other areas of ministry to hear exactly how we will do a song on Sunday,” he said. “It is also helpful in creating new arrangements during rehearsals and then being able to post those for the band for future reference, as well as in training new sound personnel.”
“The M-5000 has changed the church’s workflow for the better,” Grimpo said. “They have access to so many more channels and much improved management of those channels. The Roland ecosystem, with the M-5000 at the center, has revolutionized their worship process.”
Countryman agreed, adding, “The M-5000’s programming features overall are a blessing to the operation of a multi-ministry venue. Limitation is not something you need to worry about with this desk. And it sounds amazing!”