City Church Ready for the Future with Yamaha QL5 Digital Mixing Console
The City Church, a growing non-denominational Christian ministry based in San Diego, emphasizes sound quality and performance. That was clear to Jason Arguello the first time he pulled up to the church where he would soon be the sound engineer. "I asked who's bumping their music in front of the church? As I got closer I realized, 'Oh, that is the church.' The band was jamming."
Bumping and jamming are not typical descriptions for worship bands but they definitely fit the church's vibe. That's why Arguello decided to recently upgrade his audio mixing to include the Yamaha QL5 digital mixing console.
"We needed a new board, something that would expand with us as our plans grew in scope," he said about replacing the church's previous 32-channel Yamaha CL7. "The previous model served us well and is still a great board, but we just needed more."
The CL7 console was configured for use by the church's largely volunteer technical staff, essentially as a plug-and-play device for anyone to easily use. "As a result, the sound quality was OK and listenable, but not as good as it could have been," Arguello said.
Working with Kevin Hewett and the team at GC Pro, authorized Yamaha dealers, the QL5 was installed in the main sanctuary in June 2019, with the CL7 moving to the children's church for youth services. Now, Arguello and his team are better prepared to move ahead with their ambitious plans, such as recording an EP of the church's house band since now they are set-up for multi-channel recording with the QL5.
The church's worship band "knows how to put on a show," he said of the multi-piece group consisting of drums, bass, keys, at least two electric guitars and up to six vocalists. "The production values here have always been good," Arguello said, "but they didn't have anyone dedicated to full-time audio and sound engineering. Now, with the QL5 and a bigger focus on sound quality, people are noticing and commenting on the improved sound. Even when I record worship services and rehearsals on two channels to my USB and play it back just for my reference, I'm amazed at how good it sounds."
The goal of the EP is to share the church's message with its members and give them a permanent record of the services. "Hopefully it will also make some money, which we'll put right back into enhancing our services," Arguello said.
Other plans with the QL5 include virtual mixing to help train staff and volunteers on overall mixing techniques. For now, Arguello is more than equipped to handle his three Sunday services, rehearsals and children's weekend "jam" sessions.
"Just two weeks after getting the QL5," he said, "we had a huge three-day conference here with one of the bigger youth outreach ministries, Jesus Culture. We were cutting it close between installation and the conference and I was at the point of canceling if we didn't get it done in time. We could not have done what we did without that board."
Arguello noted the church may build a new facility or expand its current location, but he is confident the audio mixing infrastructure is set for several years, especially with the ongoing Yamaha firmware upgrades that keep devices up-to-date and lasting longer without customers needing to buy new hardware as often.
"This console makes everything so much easier," he said. "Everything is laid out more logically and we can do more than ever before. Some people are scared to try it because it looks like a spaceship and I'm thinking 'good, don't touch it!' This is a complete and utter game-changer for what we need to do. There's nothing I can't do with this console. To have this combination of flexibility and quality is mind-blowing. I'm like a kid in a candy store."