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Elevation Worship Raises The Bar With DiGiCo

Photo: Leo Solis (foreground) and Kent Margraves (background) setting up their SD10 monitor consoles for the concert

When Elevation Worship, the house worship band for the 11-campus-and-growing Elevation Church, takes the stage, they really take the stage with nearly 20 musicians and vocalists performing songs that have taken them to the tops of both Christian and secular music charts. So when the band was preparing for what will become its fourth live album, recording at the 20,000-seat Time Warner Cable Arena in the group’s home city of Charlotte, NC, it was clear that a huge number of channels would be needed, especially at the monitor mixing position. It was equally clear that only the DiGiCo SD10 digital console was up to the task.

With 90 channels of instruments, vocals and audience response mics coming off the stage, the split to monitor world was split yet again between a pair of SD10 desks supplied by SE Systems of Greensboro with the band members’ mixes coming from one and the band’s 10 vocalists’ mixes coming from the other, providing monitor mixers Kent Margraves and Leo Solis with a much more manageable mission. The two consoles were linked using an Optocore ring and two DiGiCo 56-I/O SD-Racks, with the band/vocal split to the two consoles coming out the racks.

“The DiGiCo consoles performed flawlessly, just like the band,” says Brian Poole, production manager for both Elevation Worship and Elevation Church, of the sold-out concert and recording for Wake Up The Wonder, the new live album set for a November 25 release. “They never missed a beat.” Poole, who has been with the church and band for six years, says DiGiCo’s ability to network consoles via the Optocore interface and SD-Racks made it the only choice for such a large and complex monitor mix.

“We had a total of 18 individual mixes going to the stage, so there was a lot to manage,” he explains. “Splitting the mixes between two consoles made sense, and the SD10s were really the only choice because of how easily and reliably they can be connected.”

Poole also cites operational capabilities unique to DiGiCo that further enabled this complicated monitor mix. “The automatic Gain Tracking feature lets each console operator adjust his own gain structure at the head amp without affecting the other console’s gain,” he points out. The SD10 includes 96 processing channels and 48 busses, which can be configured as 48 mono or 24 stereo groups/auxiliary busses. “The console’s ability to process so many inputs and output busses simultaneously made it the natural choice for this event,” he says.

Members of Elevation Church, which has been consistently cited by Outreach magazine as one of the Top 100 fastest growing churches in the United States, will be hearing a lot more through DiGiCo consoles in coming years. Poole says DiGiCo consoles will be the standard audio mixing platform for the church’s new and existing locations going forward, with SD9 and SD5 consoles specified for two new planned campuses in the Charlotte area and an SD9 for a planned “portable” church location.

“We’ve had consoles from several different manufacturers at our various locations, and each of them have some issues with either the sound or reliability or manufacturer support,” he says. “That’s never been the case with DiGiCo – the sound is fantastic, the performance of the Super FPGA Processor is worlds beyond what other consoles can offer in terms of horsepower, and the support has been excellent. As we were setting up for this show, DiGiCo was on the phone with us talking us through the Optocore setup and offering some tips and tricks to make the project easier and smoother. We’ve been very happy with DiGiCo all around.”

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