IM8 Powers Monitor Mixes at Illinois Church

5/7/2010 [Live Sound]

Church Remains in Rented Theater Space Until Its New Building is Completed

Effingham Illinois IM8 Install
Kevin Calkins runs monitors and Front of House during the Artisan Festival in Effingham, Ill.
EFFINGHAM, Ill.—By day, Kevin Calkins works as a manufacturing engineer in a plant that makes electrical conduit in central Illinois. But in his spare time, he is a sound engineer with his independent firm, FTS Sound, which works at local festivals and at his church, Christ Church of Effingham.

With up to 700 people showing up for services any given Sunday, the church outgrew its parish hall. As construction continues at its new site, scheduled for completion in 2011, the church has been renting the Rosebud Theatre, an historic venue on the outskirts of town. Unfortunately, the theater experienced financial difficulties in late 2009 and closed, leaving the church unsure if it would be able to use the facility.

Then, the city of Effingham bought the theater and allowed the church to continue using the hall. The city recently reopened the space as the Effingham Performance Center and hosted its first show in April, 2010.

Calkins recently bought an IM8-32 mixing console to help him with monitor mixes for his church and will bring it to the new worship space when it is completed. He also runs monitors and Front of House through the board for local festivals, events and shows put on by local worship bands.

"I had an older board we were using, but it was insufficient," he said. "There weren't enough inputs or outputs and it didn't have any direct outs. Also, it didn't have any inserts on the aux outputs."

For his church gig, Calkins used to set up the IM8 and tear it down virtually every week, until the city bought the venue and let him keep his rig intact. For each service, he rings out the monitors to eliminate feedback-causing frequencies before conducting a sound check with the band.

"I usually set up my board stage right, with the power supplies, power amps, a rack of EQ's, and a computer for recording," he said. "Basically, it's a 'monitor world.'"

He heard about the IM8 series from Dave Plunk at Music Makers in Galesburg, Ill., from whom Calkins had bought equipment in the past. Plunk had attended the NAMM show, the premier musical instrument industry convention, and told him he had seen the new consoles at the Yamaha booth.

"But they hadn't come out yet, so later in the year I kept harassing him about it," said Calkins. "When the shipment came in, I got one of the first to be sold in the United States. I'm old school; you can't teach an old dog new tricks."

For its Front of House, the performance center has an M7CL-48 digital console from Yamaha, which Calkins wants to learn how to operate, though he hasn't gotten the chance and is happy working his IM8.

"I love that board," he said. "I've used it in outdoor live sound settings and I get really good sound from it. The built in compressor is really nice for vocals. There are plenty of inputs and sliders on the auxes instead of having rotary pot sliders."

He also likes the direct outs and the eight aux sends, since he's running nine mixes at the church. "Everyone wants a personal mix," he said. "They got spoiled. The church worship band includes up to three guitarists, two keyboardists, a mandolin player, saxophonist, bass guitarist, drummer, percussionist and backup vocals.

A drummer himself, Calkins sometimes plays congas and runs back and forth between the drums and the mixing board, though he has recruited his son, Kyne, to help out. He appreciates the USB recording capabilities, though the band records direct from the board into a rack-mount computer that runs Cubase, so music minister Bryce Ash can remix each service.

Though Calkins is pleased with his new board, "my only regret is that I wish I would have purchased the IM8-40," he said. "It seems like I am continually trying to see what, or who, I can remove from the board to make place for something or someone else. It's a nice-looking board with impressive sound and you'd think the IM8's would cost more than they do."

For more information write Yamaha Corporation of America, Pro Audio & Combo Division, Live Sound, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622; telephone (714) 522-9011; e-mail; or visit;

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