When it comes to sound, lighting, and video, more often than not it is the mega church that is designed from the ground up with detailed analysis, blueprints, and specifications. The small- to medium-sized churches seem to make do with upgrades to existing systems.
Not so with the South Ridge Church in Fairmont, WV, which recently installed a new sound, lighting, and video system in its main sanctuary with the help of a crack team of architects and acoustic consultants, installers, and gear supplied by Northern Sound & Light (NSL).
Kevin Kuhn, who acted as the audio team lead, oversaw the installation. Kuhn has a history with Pittsburgh, PA-based NSL, having done sound for local bands and churches in the area and says, "The folks there have always treated me well and they know their stuff. I like the fact that when I call them I get a knowledgeable person on the other end."
The 450-seat South Ridge is a non-denominational Christian church whose parent church, Chestnut Ridge, is located in nearby Morgantown. In addition to Kuhn and NSL, Paradigm Architectural Design was contracted to provide plans for conduits, staging, and overall facility design. Paradigm had done the design for Chestnut Ridge Church and was familiar with the South Ridge church and its needs. For acoustical treatment, Acoustic Dimensions' Chris Brooks was brought in to consult on ways to ensure that the building and the new systems "played well together."
The audio system is centered on a Soundcraft SiExpression 3 digital mixing console, a combination of Renkus-Heinz and JBL PRx 412M cabinets powered by Crown power amplifiers, and a Sennheiser microphone package. The services at South Ridge usually feature a full rock band in addition to the pastor's sermons, so on-stage levels need to be managed carefully.
Six Aviom A-16II digital personal monitor mixers are placed on stage, which allow band members to create their own monitor mix via headphones or IEMs. An Aviom A-Net 16 interface card provides direct integration from the Soundcraft console to the monitor system.
To light the space, twenty Altman Par56 lighting instruments are mounted to trusses flown at both the up and down stage positions. Chauvet COLORado Batten 72 Tour and COLORdash Batten fixtures round out the lighting package.
Justin Wright, pastor at South Ridge, is pleased with the new system saying, "Our designer knew that we were working on a very tight budget, yet also understood the importance of having the highest quality material available. NSL have unbeatable prices and their customer service and communication was some of the best I've worked with."