Waiting For a New Home, Still Sounding Great

11/20/2009 [Live Sound]

IM8 Powers Monitor Mixes at Itinerant Illinois Church

Illinois IM8 Install
Kevin Calkins runs monitors and Front of House during the Artisan Festival in Effingham, Ill.
EFFINGHAM, Ill.—By day, Kevin Calkins is a manufacturing engineer in a plant that makes electrical conduit in central Illinois. But at night, and on the weekends, he is a sound engineer with his independent firm, FTS Sound, which works at local festivals, and at his church, Christ Church of Effingham, a town of 13,000.

With up to 500 people showing up for services any given Sunday, the church outgrew its parish hall. While they wait to break ground on a new facility, they have been renting the Rosebud Theatre. Unfortunately, the theater plans to close its doors for good on December 5, 2009, a victim of the economic downturn, so the church is in limbo.

"We don't know if we will be able to use the building after the theater closes," said Calkins. "After that, until we complete our new sanctuary, we're not sure where we'll be able to hold services."

Calkins recently bought an IM8-32 mixing console to help him with monitor mixes for his church, but 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. It, also, does not have any inserts on the aux outputs."

For his church gig, Calkins sets up the IM8 and tears it down virtually every week. For each service, he sets up the board and monitors, rings out the monitors and gets rid of 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 Rosebud Theatre, has a 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 their own 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 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.

"It's a nice-looking board with impressive sound," he said. "I'm used to running other boards and you'd think the IM8's would cost more than they do."

For more information about Yamaha products, write Yamaha Corporation of America, P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622-6600; call (714) 522-9011; email infostation@yamaha.com; or visit www.yamaha.com.

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