From Tragedy to Triumph

11/6/2009 [Live Sound]

IM8 Mixing Console Saves the Sound at Mississippi Church

IM8 Mixing Console Saves the Sound at Mississippi Church
Left To Right, Front Row: Glenn Hicks, Richard Horton, Delilah Gullet Left To Right, Back Row: James Peck, Greg Honeycut
BUENA PARK, Calif.—When their old mixing console stopped working one day, the folks in charge of the sound system at Triumph Church in Vicksburg, Mississippi searched for a new one to amplify the sounds of their worship band, five member praise team and choir.

As in many churches, the sound team is headed up by a volunteer with little formal training, Richard Horton, who took the job around four years ago. "I've always been technologically oriented and I love music, though I can't sing or play a note," he said. "But I knew what I thought services should sound like and it didn't take too long to pick up on everything."

Founded in 1990, the church and its services have grown over the years. The institution, which first met in rented digs in a pipe-fitter's hall, now occupies a 17-acre campus with a worship space that accommodates 500 people.

Sound issues can be a challenge, since the only acoustic treatments in the main worship hall consist of ceiling tiles and carpeting. "It can be tough to capture the individual voices of the praise team and to hear the voices in the choir when you need to hear them," said Horton.

The worship group's instrumentation - digital keyboard, acoustic guitar, electric violin, saxophone, electric guitar, bass guitar and a drummer who plays behind a glass partition beneath the choir loft - also presents mixing challenges.

So when it came time to find a new mixer, Horton consulted with a musician acquaintance, headed over to nearby Lakeland Music and decided on a Yamaha IM8-40 analog console. "Between the ease of use and the price, it was where we wanted to be," he said. "It felt like we were getting a lot of board for the money."

IM8 Mixing Console Saves the Sound at Mississippi Church
Richard Horton mans his board.
One feature he particularly appreciates is the single knob compression. "That's just awesome," he said. "There's no more having to figure the threshold or the ratio or attack or all that other stuff. I just turn it up and getting the mix right becomes real easy."

The compression on the IM8-40 replaces an external two channel inline compression that was hard to operate. "I never was comfortable with the set up because I'm not a professional and I never had full confidence with the settings," he said. "With this board, I set them one time and left them alone."

The feature comes in handy to smooth out the mix among the singers, some of whom are louder than others and also helps when visiting pastors come by. "Some of them tend to get excited during sermons and their voices get louder and louder," he said, "so with the compression engaged, I know that the decibel level will remain steady and I won't have to sit and fight to shift the fader up and down trying to guess when there's going to be an exciting moment."

Horton also appreciates the ability to mix the monitors from the console. "We were restricted to four monitor sends on the old board and now we can add up to eight," said Horton. "As time progresses, we'll add a monitor for the choir and begin introducing in-ear monitors for everyone in the band and the praise team."

So far, the console has served its purpose well. "People have noticed a big difference in the sound quality," said Horton. "All I can say is God is with me because it turns out good every Sunday."

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