SSL is the winner at Watermark Community Church – Worship AVLby August 27, 2022
SSL is the winner at Watermark Community Church
Following a shootout between various console manufacturers, three Solid State Logic Live consoles have been installed at Watermark Community Church, a nondenominational evangelical church in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, founded by senior pastor Todd Wagner in 1999. To improve the audio quality of the message being delivered, not only in-person but also online, the church engaged commercial AV design and integration company Nexos to install two L200s and an L350 and implement a new Dante network at its main Dallas campus.
The upgrade saw the 24-fader L350 installed at FOH and the 36-fader L200 at the monitor position in the 4,000-seat auditorium. The second L200 is located in the facility’s broadcast and video control room. The church’s services typically include in-house and visiting praise bands and musicians and are distributed to satellite campuses in Fort Worth, Plano, Frisco and downtown Dallas, where the pastor’s teachings are integrated into the respective live worship services at those facilities and are also streamed online.
Nexos founder Travis Brockway explained: “We have 112 lines scattered around the stage coming into the stage right rack with three SSL SB32.24 and one SB16.12 stageboxes with dual Dante outputs. Rather than using mic splitters and a patchbay, we installed the 112 SSL mic pres, so that it could all be soft patched via Dante. When the system came online, we also implemented a new Dante network across the Dallas campus. It was a big switch. We replaced all the previous DSP and its Dante functionality throughout the whole facility. Everywhere there’s an audio console, it plugs in via Dante.”
The FOH L350 desk, positioned centrally in the auditorium just behind the lower seating bowl, directly drives the main left and right L-Acoustics PA system, along with the flown and floor subs. The newly installed DSP system handles optimisation of and distribution to the multiple L-Acoustics balcony delay arrays, out-fill and front-fills covering the fan-shaped seating area. “The main service also gets distributed around to what they call the Town Center, the coffee shop and gathering space in the middle, and a couple of overflow rooms,” added Brockway. “There’s also the chapel and the loft, and all the children’s spaces; they’re all capable of getting an input from the main auditorium – and vice versa.”
The church records selected services, which are controlled from the FOH L350. DAW functionality is hooked up on the console, and all the inputs are available over Dante so they can be picked off at any location. There are 32 analogue outputs and the HOW is also using an Allen & Heath ME personal mixing system over Dante. There are two sends, one to the satellite campuses and one to the web stream. The pastor uses a DPA d:fine headset that allows 80dB of gain compared to 65dB with the old system.
“We did a shootout between the SSL Live and one other console,” concluded Brockway. “It was very interesting. The sonic performance of the SSL console is pretty spectacular. Without any processing, it sounded wider, like the speakers had all moved 10 feet apart. It’s not out of phase so I can’t explain it, but it’s quite obvious. The sound stage is wider and deeper than what we had before, and things in the centre of the image are bang in the centre and right in your face. So, there was a clear winner: SSL.”
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