A pair of KLANG:vokal immersive in-ear monitor mixing processors paired with a dozen KLANG:kontrollers create an easily managed but individually flexible environment onstage
Self-described as “mission-minded,” Madison, Mississippi’s Broadmoor Baptist Church began meeting over 65 years ago following the rapid expansion of the city of Jackson after WWII. Over the decades, membership has grown to nearly 6,000 people, with over 1,500 attendees regularly attending services at the multi-structure campus located on 35 acres. Music has always been an integral part of the church’s worship experience, and that has expanded with the church itself. Today, there are between four and eight vocalists and as many as ten musicians onstage for weekly Sunday services.
With that many musical participants, the stage at Broadmoor Baptist Church can be a busy place. That’s what led Media and Communications Pastor Michael Bowen and his staff to look into a more sophisticated and personalizable in-ear monitoring system. The choice, which he said was clear early on, was a pair of KLANG:vokal immersive in-ear monitor mix processors, applied one each to the band and the singers as groups, matched with a dozen individual KLANG:kontroller personal monitor controllers onstage. These were purchased and installed in September through Andrew Hicks at Stage Center Lighting of nearby Pearl.
“We’ve been using in-ear monitoring since 2009 when we first opened this worship center, and it served us well for over a decade, but we realized in recent months that audio technologies and quality have improved in that time,” Pastor Bowen explains. “It was time to move up.”
He notes that the church had already invested in a pair of DiGiCo SD8 mixing consoles, used at front of house and broadcast and sharing an Optocore network, so the easy integration of those with the KLANG systems made perfect sense, with the two KLANG:vokals connected to the FOH console via MADI.
But once they did some onsite testing and experienced the power, flexibility, and audio quality of the KLANG systems, the decision was made. “The 3D aspect is the newest element and it’s been especially great, particularly with people for whom in-ear monitoring is new,” Bowen says. “They can place the instruments and vocalists in their monitors the same way they’re positioned onstage, which makes the adjustment to IEMs easier. And the entire KLANG system is easily managed from the FOH console, where our house engineer can help anyone onstage make adjustments by pulling up parameters on the touchscreen and hearing what they hear. When you put all of those advantages together, it was a no-brainer.”
The KLANG system has made a fan of the church’s tech team. “As an FOH engineer who is also tasked with overall control for stage wedge mixes and IEM mixes, I really appreciate being able to quickly switch between individual mixes to assist the musicians and vocalists,” says Brian Hilburn, the church’s main mix engineer. “Having both visual faders and individual metering allows me to easily spot potential problems and make changes before they become an issue. I also really like being able to see where all of the sources fit within a 3D space and being able to quickly relocate an instrument or vocal within a headspace. KLANG’s immersive mixing provides previously unattainable control and isolation allowing for much greater sonic space and overall lower listening levels.”
Mike Haight, Broadmoor Baptist Church’s Executive Pastor of Creative Arts, adds, “The fidelity of the KLANG systems is exceptional, and the ability to pan audio on a 3D spectrum has been a game-changer.”
Onstage, the perspective is just as positive. “For the first time ever, I could hear music and other vocalists at the same time,” comments Broadmoor vocalist Kyle Cammack. “The KLANG system truly gave me the ability to get the perfect mix.”
His colleague, Whitley Tassin, also a Broadmoor vocalist, is equally enthusiastic about the system: “I love it! The sound is so much more clear and I’m able to adjust and customize what I hear much more efficiently. Having the option to place instrumentalists and vocalists as I would naturally hear them has been wonderful. Being able to fine-tune everything has improved my ability to hear on stage and feel more free to worship.”
Bassist Justin Rives notes, “One the greatest hurdles for me is feeling confident with how I sit in the mix and to be able to play and adjust dynamically. For a long time, I had cranked the volume of everything that I thought I needed to hear in my mix but would still struggle to feel comfortable playing confidently. At times, I have found it necessary to play with one ear open to the room to better gauge how the overall mix was sounding. All of this has taken a toll on my hearing. The KLANG system has really shown me that I can be satisfied with lower volumes in my in-ear monitors. I’ve discovered that its superior sound separation and customizable soundstage has allowed me to perform at a much safer volume. The KLANG system has made playing onstage so much more enjoyable.”
Looking forward, Pastor Bowen points out that just as already having the DiGiCo and Optocore infrastructure in place made it easier to integrate the new KLANG products, having KLANG in place will also soon streamline replacing the church’s SD8 FOH desk with a new DiGiCo Quantum console, a move that is currently in motion for the sanctuary. “And that paves the way for us to implement KLANG and Quantum in our other venues, such as the fellowship hall and student spaces,” he says, enumerating as many as five more areas that may get these upgrades. “We know a good thing when we hear one.”