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YourChurchTech Becomes Authorized VIZIO Dealer

YourChurchTech has signed an agreement to sell Vizio televisions, bringing one of  the most popular and aggressively priced U.S. TV brands to the product lines already offered.  The strategic partnership with the Irvine, California-based manufacturer  comes at a time when houses of worship are looking to add more multimedia options throughout their facilities.VIZIO Logo - Black, White

In the second quarter of 2007, Vizio skyrocketed to the top by becoming the  most shipped brand of flat panel HDTVs in North America, according to the  manufacturer’s website.

In addition to being America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company, Vizio has a strong interest in  participating in categories beyond TV, including audio products and computers.

In September 2012, Vizio’s high-definition televisions won the highest ranking in  customer satisfaction from J.D. Power and Associates

About YourChurchTech

YourChurchTech (www.YourChurchTech.com) is an authorized Vizio partner that serves churches and businesses, that do not have the resources on-hand to manage their IT, audio, video, and lighting needs.  YourChurchTech takes the time to understand their goals and identify solutions that will compliment, empower and add value to their mission.  Questions should be referred to Mike@YourChurchTech.com or call 502.472.4425.

 

YourChurchTech Enters Partnership with Rackspace

YourChurchTech has today announced that the company has become a Reseller for the suite of Rackspace® services through the Rackspace Partner Program.

rs-member-partner-logo-clr-RGB“We are honored by Rackspace’s willingness to partner with YourChurchTech” says Mike Howser, Owner of YourChurchTech, LLC.  “This relationship underpins our commitment to delivering world class services to our clients.  Choosing Rackspace was an easy decision for us as they share the same values and principals as we do.  We are truly blessed to be aligned with them”.

Beyond offering consultancy, engineering and support services, YourChurchTech works with the leading distributors to deliver leading-edge IT product to small to medium-size houses of worship throughout the state of Kentucky.

Mike goes on to say “at YourChurchTech we identified a need within the market to demystify the Cloud offerings currently available.  Everyone has heard of Cloud Computing, but very few understand how it fits in with their infrastructure and what the benefits are.  Our primary goal is to identify Cloud solutions that will change the way our clients operate and manage their IT”.

About YourChurchTech

YourChurchTech (www.YourChurchTech.com) is an authorized Rackspace partner that helps small and midsize businesses leverage the power of the Cloud.  Serving churches, and businesses, that do not have the resources on-hand to manage their IT, audio, video, and lighting needs, YourChurchTech takes the time to understand their goals and identify solutions that will compliment, empower and add value to their mission.

A Look at Industry Tools for Working with Color

If it’s spring, then it must be time to look at color. The most basic principle of lighting design is that you want to use the controllable properties of light — intensity, direction, movement, and color  — as visual information to help convey emotion. Of those four properties, color is one of the easiest to change and is can be fairly low cost. A sheet of plastic color filter lists for around $7.50, and depending on the light, you can get six or eight cuts out of a sheet. If you don’t like a particular color you can easily change it out for another one. You can easily change the look of your scenery, backdrop or overall space or you can use colors to highlight an area to move audience focus. The right color choice will help support the message or moment that you are trying to convey by underscoring a mood or setting the tone of a moment.Stanziano_Baptist_West_Campus_8049_HR_sized

The key to using color is to know your options. First you need to define and articulate the emotion you are trying to reinforce with your color, and know that trial and error lead to great discoveries. As you experiment with different colors you may ask, “Why are there 18 different reds?” As you become more experienced, you will be surprised in the difference subtle variations in color can make in lighting.

Numerous tools, many of them quite inexpensive, are available to help you make an informed decision when working with color in your lighting.

Analog Tools

Despite a quantum leap in many lighting system technologies, when it comes to picking color, the standard proceedure remains using a color filter (gel) manufacturer’s color swatchbook. The primary color manufacturers are Apollo, GAM Products, Lee and Rosco and all offer swatchbooks. . [Rosco recently purchased GAM Products and has stated that Rosco will continue to market and promote GAM worldwide through its global distribution network.] These are small samples of every color in the different lines offered. You can get swatchbooks, most often at no cost, at the various trade shows, your theatrical dealership where you buy your color or you can put in a request with the manufacturers via their websites. Most of the manufacturers also make larger designer swatchbooks with samples large enough to put in front of a light. Prices for these designer swatchbooks vary so check with your supplier or manufacturer. Also, check with the manufacturer or your theatrical supplier to see if they have combination packs of color, sometimes available in 12×12-inch sheets. These are usually a small collection of popular colors and let you play around and try colors out.

Most of the color manufacturers sell plastic color filters in sheets and rolls. Consider getting a roll if you use a lot of a particular color since that may be more economical for you. Remember when you cut the color into the frame sizes for your lights, it is a good idea to label each one with the color number. I generally also add a letter to the front of the number to keep straight which company it came from, i.e., A4870 for Apollo, L201 for Lee, R80 for Rosco. It is best to do this in the corner of the cut filter with a white china marker or grease pencil. Don’t mark across the center of the filter.  No, the numbers won’t project a shadow, but the markings will block light, causing more heat in that area and shortening the filter’s life. Remember that even though color filters are considered expendable, you don’t have to throw away the color after one use if it is still good. More efficient fixtures, short usage and better filter technology have all gone a long way in extending the life of color filters. To prolong a color filter’s life, it is best to always have an even, flat focus with no hot spots; try a heat shield product to reflect heat away, or use an extender to move the color further away from the front of the light. I recommend a file drawer(s) to keep the cuts of color organized for use in your next production.

Digital Tools.  Going from the analog nature of a swatchbook to the digital realm, there are a lot of tools available to make working with color simple and fun.

iPhone/iPod touch Apps

The smart phone is the new multi-tool. When Apple introduced the iPhone (and the iPad and iPod touch) they opened up development of applications to outside, third-party developers. Dozens, possibly hundreds of apps are available for the entertainment and presentation technology. All the apps can be purchased at the iTunes App store. Most of the programs are under $5.00 but a few go up to $9.99, fairly reasonable costs considering the time that goes into developing the apps.

Digital Swatchbook

The Wybron Gel Swatch Library ($9.99) allows you to browse, search, and compare over 1,000 Apollo, GAM, Lee and Rosco colors. This app gives you several ways to find color, even look at similar shades with a side-by-side comparison window. You may still want to look through the swatchbook with a light but this app is a great tool for quick reference, crossing over and, in fact, does a fairly good job of color representation, especially when you are at a dark tech table. There’s now a version for iPad—Gel Swatch Library HD that sells for $9.99 on the Apple App Store.

Color Mixing

The CXI Color Calculator ($4.99) also from Wybron, works with the company’s CXI IT dual color string color changer to find the right mix of colors. You scroll through two overlapping color strings of cyan, magenta, and yellow to find the perfect color out of nearly 500 different shades. Then plug its numerical values—either decimals or percentages—into your console to create the color. This is a quick, handy solution, especially if you keep misplacing your fancy (analog) Wybron color index wheel.

Color Calculator

LD Michael Zinman, a prolific app developer, has created a number of lighting apps including GelCalc ($4.99), which allows you to calculate the number of sheets of color that you would need depending on the color frame sizes of the lights that you are using. A cool feature that I really like is that it figures out the best cutting direction to yield the most frames per/sheet. The other handy feature of GelCalc is that you can enter what you pay for a sheet of color and it calculates how much it’s going to cost to color your show. The app also includes a frame picker with over 60 common frame sizes or you can manually enter any frame size.

Color Measurements

SeaChanger, the company that produces the SeaChanger dichroic color changer for the ETC Source Four ellipsoidal, makes the colorBug, a handheld device with a light sensor for photometrics. It’s no larger than a typical mobile phone and comes with applications that allow you to easily determine output. colorBug’s exclusive software allows you to share data with your iPhone or iPod touch, where you can store and analyzing data with its software program. With its wireless capabilities, colorBug communicates directly to an iPhone or iPod touch without the need for a PC or cables. The software is downloadable for free on the iTunes site and the colorBug device has a list price of $480.

Websites

 The websites for all the color manufacturers, as well as the sites of many theatrical dealers, are a wealth of information about color. From suggested uses of color, to color theory, crossover comparisons between different manufacturers, and even how to use color correction if you are mixing different sources like tungsten and discharge lamps, the websites have a lot of great information.

 Working with color in your lighting should be fun and not in the least intimidating. Try some colors, experiment with different combinations. Explore the websites of the different color filter manufacturers and try some of these tools when you are working with color. Please feel free to let us know what you find and if there is a tool that you really like for working with color.

Michael S. Eddy writes about design and technology.  He can be reached at mseddy2900@hotmail.com.

Getting Networked In Church

Houses of worship may understandably feel a close connection to distant parts of the universe, but their physical plants are also hoping that connectivity on signal and control networks are proving beneficial in the long run, too. But networking their audio and video is taking them deeper than ever into a complex realm that resembles IT more than A/V.ChurchNetworking

Networking is a means of distributing digital audio or video signals across a wide area — from within a single structure to across entire campuses and multiple locations — by means of structured cabling, such as Cat-5, Cat-6 and fiber optic, over an Ethernet network such as a local area network (LAN).

Audio is the most common networked signal in use now. The most basic networked audio systems use Ethernet to create telephone systems, also known as voice-over-IP (VoIP). However, full-range audio such as music requires high-fidelity, low-latency distribution systems that do not employ data compression.

Those seeking to network audio for their facilities face a bewildering array of choices, most of them incompatible with each other, which creates understandable concerns about investing in specific solutions. Networking solutions can be divided by the various protocols that establish their operational capabilities:

Layer 1: uses Ethernet wiring and signaling components but does not use the Ethernet frame structure. Layer 1 protocols often use their own media access controls (i.e., proprietary MACs) rather than the one native to Ethernet, which generally creates compatibility issues. Proprietary networks that use Layer 1 protocols include Aviom’s A-Net and RockNet from Riedel Communications.

Layer 2: encapsulates audio data in standard Ethernet packets. Most can make use of standard Ethernet hubs and switches though some require that the network (or at least a VLAN) be dedicated to the audio distribution application. Examples of Layer-2 protocols include CobraNet, AVB (the AVnu Alliance, AVB’s certification body, plans to roll out its switch certification in July, with comprehensive Pro Audio certification expected in early 2013) and EtherSound by Digigram.

Layer 3: encapsulates audio data in standard IP packets (usually UDP/IP or RTP/UDP/IP). The use of the IP protocol improves interoperability with standard computing platforms and in some cases, improves scalability of the audio distribution system. The Layer-3 audio-over-Ethernet protocols are not designed to traverse the Internet. Examples include Audinate’s DANTE, Q-LAN from QSC and Ravenna.

Out in the Field

Different churches approach audio networking from a variety of directions. “Our approach has been to build out our infrastructure to allow for our existing network needs as well as future needs, which would include A/V,” explains Kurt Foreman, director of Operations at Cathedral of Faith in San Jose, CA. “Currently, our campus has a single- and multi-mode fiber ring around campus that primarily carries our data file. However, these data files include sending large video files. Also, our Internet connection comes through this as well.

“We have not yet taken the step to go to an IP phone system given that we haven’t seen the benefit and the cost of retrofitting the cable within our older buildings,” he continues, referring to the church’s view on the costs of networking. “Our approach for upgrading here at the church is based upon benefit/need and balancing that with the cost. How many people will benefit and is the benefit worth it?” He says they’re still assessing that.

Greg Klimetz, production manager at Hillcrest Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL says his church is still in the process of determining their long-range networking plans, with wireless control over certain A/V systems being the first step.

“We use Aerohive wireless access points and have had amazing success with them,” he explains. Klimetz uses the access point in the church’s worship center almost every week to remotely control the Venue FOH console and other production computers in the main worship building on an iPad via a [Video LAN client (VLC)] app. “I’m in the very beginning steps of researching A/V over network platforms. I’ve briefly read a few articles on CobraNet and HiQNet systems. We let our IT tech recommend and install networking solutions based off current and future needs. We also utilize a local company called Technologies for Tomorrow to help assist our IT tech with troubleshooting and system maintenance. Streaming has been our priority right now.”

However, says Klimetz, networked A/V is the long-term goal, and streaming will constitute some of its primary content. “We definitely are headed toward A/V over network for signage, services, special events, and overflow situations,” he says. “We would like to be able to simulcast the main worship center anywhere on campus, and our network would allow us to do this. Furthermore, we would like to have the ability to simulcast any of our four main venues all over the campus if desired. This is a bigger dream as it would require camera systems in three of our four main campus venues. Currently we only have cameras in our main worship facility.” Klimetz adds that the church has already begun budgeting for networking, including the hiring of a full-time IT technician.

Adam Holladay, the market manager for the system development and integration group at Harman Professional, acknowledges that house-of-worship technical managers face a complex landscape when it comes to networking. “There are a lot of options out there, almost too many,” he observes, ticking off pros and cons of various solutions: “It’s not a good idea to put networked audio on the same LAN you’re using for voice and data, but we understand that there are cost considerations that churches have to keep in mind; that’s what AVB is designed to take care of but it won’t be fully available for some time yet,” he says. CobraNet is here and simple to use but audio is restricted to bundles of eight channels and it doesn’t support Gigabit operation, he adds. Holladay points to Audinate’s DANTE network product, which has become a de facto standard at the high end of the market, but one that requires substantial knowledge of switch management and other IT-centric issues.

“I think the most fundamental question you have to ask before getting into networking is centered around how confident you feel about operating and maintaining a network,” Holladay concludes.

Networking is complex, even at its most basic levels, although making product choices as manufacturers jockey to position their proprietary solutions in an increasingly crowded marketplace make it even more complicated. The best investment you can likely make when it comes to audio networking is in IT knowledge, in the form of a consultant, or via your pro audio retailer, many of whom are adding this to their own knowledgebase.

What’s On Your Network? Pretty much any type of A/V systems can operate on a network. • Audio is the simplest media for a network due to its small file sizes and low complexity. Both audio content and control data can be easily networked. • Projection is bit more complicated. Still images are no problem for most LAN networks, as is control data such as on/off information. More complex networks can also offer monitoring of crucial system components, such as bulbs. But full-motion video content over a network requires significantly more bandwidth than audio or still images.

By Dan Daley, Worship TechDecisions

Taming the Beast: Top 5 Ways To Overcome Drum Volumes

As contemporary church services evolve, the worship experience is taking a more professional, concert-style look. Even traditional churches are shutterstock_111458804_sizedspending money on better sound systems, more powerful, colorful lights, and larger video screens. However, there is no bigger mood killer than that awkward, see-through plexiglass room in the middle of the stage. The only alternative for most churches would be electric drums, and that is definitely not rock n roll.

WWJD? Jesus would not use electric drums.

Unrestricted, acoustic drums can be one of the most visually captivating pieces of décor on the platform, if setup properly. However, many of us struggle with the ability to have our drums out in the open because of the high volume they produce. Hence the need for the distracting plexiglass room most of us have on the platform.

In some smaller rooms, there may be no way around the need for a drum cage, yet in mnay situations there are ways to beat these issues so you to can have a more appealing, cohesive stage. First, there are a few questions that must be asked when a church runs into a situation where the drums are too loud:

1. What is the desired overall SPL (sound pressure level) of your service?

2. Where are the drums placed?

3. How are the drums tuned?

4. What type of sticks are the drummers using?

5. Are the drums mixed properly.

Before we go on, I want to point out that working toward a solution requires a positive working relationship between the drummer and sound guy. The truth is that the drummer hates being in “the box,” and would probably do anything to get out of it.

What is the desired SPL?

If you are planning on uncovering the drum set and letting the drummer become more visually and musically united into the worship service, first make sure your church is okay with averaging at least 95-97 dB (A-weighted). This is fairly loud, but it isn’t uncomfortable if your loudspeaker system is setup properly, and is designed to handle that level of SPL.

Where are the drums placed?

One big factor that can cause drums to be too loud is having the kit shoved up next to a wall or in a corner. The reason that this is an issue is because the snare and cymbals (especially) can reverberate off the wall and become very loud within the room. Getting the drums off the wall can be very helpful. However, if that is not an option then you can take acoustic foam and put it on the back wall to help diffuse some of the bounce. Make sure the foam is about two feet higher than the cymbals. For those of you with shorter ceilings, putting acoustic treatment above the drums can also make a huge difference.

How are the drums tuned?

A big help from the drummer comes in the form of getting him to tune to the drums (especially the snare) as low as possible. The lower the snare is tuned, the lower the volume and the better control you have in the house.

On a side note, the two main high-volume elements are normally a snare and cymbals. While you can tune your snare down, you can’t tune your cymbals down. However, you can get new cymbals. Most churches have very high-pitched, cheaper cymbals. They don’t realize that by spending a few more dollars they can get cymbals designed for their situation. Most cymbal companies make a series that produce less volume and are darker sounding. These will help with natural volume.

What sticks are your drummers playing with?

The lighter the sticks the softer the hit. Now the immediate statement a drummer may say is that they will break the sticks. There are two good responses to that: 1) If you try to play a little softer, they won’t break, and 2) The church will buy you a bunch of sets so you have spares. If you explain to the church business administrator (or whoever signs the checks) that supplying sticks for the drummers could keep the volume down, most will consider it money well spent.

Mix the drums properly.

One of the biggest mistakes that sound guys make is not mixing the drums loud enough. Drums actually sound louder than they really are when you can hear them naturally in the room, rather than from the speakers. If you make sure all sound heard is from the speakers then it will sound cleaner, more professional, and easier on the ears. The knee jerk reaction is to turn them down and let their natural acoustics to be heard, but if you will turn them up just a bit, then it will feel better to the people in the audience.

Once again, most drummers want to be “unleashed” from the “cage”. If you explain that to the drummer that he has the opportunity to retire the plexiglass prison, then odds are he will work with the you by tuning, playing a little softer, and choosing different sticks.

If you are working closely together with your drummer, and your church is okay with a little extra budget for cymbals and sticks, then these tips could you get rid of that eye-sore, plexiglas drum cage on your stage and help you create a more unified look and feel for your worship services.

Are my church’s media and message ready to go social?

social media 4 churches

Do you remember when organizations would only provide their address or a toll free telephone number at the end of an advertisement? Neither do I. These days, more and more businesses and churches are forgoing such standard contact information and are urging their customers to be their “Fan” on Facebook or to “Follow” them on Twitter. What makes online social media (or social networking) platforms different from more traditional forms of “customer” engagement and marketing? And how do you determine if it makes sense for your church?

The answer to the first question is simple. Nearly 25% of the entire world population, cutting across all demographics, regularly conducts business or hangs out on a social networking website. Within these “global hubs,” individuals and organizations gather and break news, promote themselves or their services, target their preferred audience, and decide whose conversations they want to hear. And much of this comes thanks to the growing number of mobile phones, which make it easy for users to access and update their social networking accounts on the go.

In addition to the obvious appeal of reaching millions of people at little cost, one primary advantage for churches to have an online social presence is to be found when someone decides to look for the message they’re spreading (for examples, archived sermons) or the services it provides. But if your church’s primary mission is to evangelize, then online social networks are no replacement for pounding the pavement, knocking on doors,  or visiting people in their need in hospitals, prisons, and  orphanages. Also, by setting up an online identity, your church would be exposing itself to the wild wild world of cyberspace, where reputations can be enhanced–and just as easily destroyed!

And yet, more and more churches are beginning to “go social.” According to this infographic(below), 46% of 250 churches surveyed said that social media is their most effective method of outreach; that’s followed by knocking on doors (24%), and advertising in the traditional outlets of newspapers, radio, and TV (a combined 30%). But the beauty of social media is that it’s not an either/or proposition: You can literally knock on doors and tweet about it at the same time.

Churches and Social MediaHow Churches Use Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC] July 31, 2012 by Amanda Pittman

Is social media right for your church, and is your ready for social media? Here are five questions you should answer before deciding:

Does your church want a two-way conversation with your followers? Unlike the church blog, a social-networking follower can post content (if you allow them to) on the church’s Facebook Page for all to see. Or a complete stranger can send a Direct Message to the pastor’s Twitter inbox. Or church members can chat with the clergy, or hold church business meetings, in a Google+ Hangout.

Does your church do frequent outreach campaigns, musical concerts, or fundraising? Then you definitely need to be active in the social media sphere.

Does your church want to target the young and unchurched? Social networking is NOT just for the kids, but naturally, the young and young at heart gravitate to these relatively nascent media platforms. Also, the millions of people who may not feel comfortable stepping inside a church door could very well visit your Facebook page from the comfort of their home.

Does your church want to educate the broader public, affect change, and at the same time protect and shape your reputation? The promise entering the dynamic world of social media is that you are on the same stage as politicians and celebrities. Anyone can find your church’s account, and what you say or do online can go “viral.” And that’s also a danger. If an improper photo or message is posted to your church’s social media account, its reputation can tank within minutes. It pays to be aware of social media’s unwritten rules of conduct.

Does your church already have an existing, but inactive, or ineffective social media-presence? It’s possibly because someone just doesn’t have the time needed to keep it “fresh” by making updates several times a week–in the case of Twitter, preferably at least once daily. But to be effective, your social media manager, whoever it may be, also needs to learn social media’s best practices, such as responding to questions or comments.

A/V Equipment Needs Power

There was a time when power amplifiers were measured by weight, meaning bigger and heavier indicated more power; a time when 1,000W amplifiers were nearly impossible because of the amount of power it would take to make them work. Well, those days are over. Power is getting smarter, lighter, and more efficient every day. If your go-to amplifiers don’t include some of the new breed of power mentioned below, you owe it to your clients to take a look.

Ashly Audio ne series Ashly Audio’s Networkable-enabled amplifiers (ne series) allow instant access to a power amplifier or a rack of power amplifiers from anywhere in the world. With different configurations such as: CobraNet, digital inputs and outputs, or microphone pre inputs (multichannels only). Users may also add the Protea digital processor to the power amplifier platform. Ashly’s ne series power amplifiers are engineered with an energy-efficient switching power supply mated to a Class D amplifier design.

Pêma is a Protea-equipped matrix amplifier from Ashly, either 4-channel or 8-channel at 250W or 125W per channel. Pêma is a matrix mixer. All Pêma models have a full 8-in by 8-out matrix mixer, where any input can be assigned to any output or outputs. Pêma is a digital signal processor. In addition to the full Protea suite of DSP settings, there are four new features to Pêma—gain-sharing automatic microphone mixing, an automatic feedback suppressor, ambient noise detection and adjustment, and a realtime clock with an event scheduler. Pêma is more than 80 percent energy efficient out of the box.

Atlas Sound PA60GSmall and compact, and engineered for efficiency and reliability, the Atlas SoundPA60G amplifier is an excellent choice for paging or background music (BGM) systems, small to medium speech privacy systems, and any applications where distributed audio is required. It provides 60W into a 70.7V/100V line and has a balanced line-level input via Phoenix connector and a summing unbalanced RCA input. Output is to 70.7/100V speaker lines via a Phoenix connector. Additional features include status LEDs, removable level controls with set-it-and-forget-it security cover, and a global (100VAC-240VAC) power supply.
Audio Authority SonaFlex SF-16M

The Audio Authority SonaFlex SF-16M SonaFlex SF-16M is a unique blend of premium, 2-channel amplification, matrix distribution, flexible input options, signal processing, and open control capability. Designed and assembled in the U.S. with the custom installer in mind, the SF-16M gives you a different solution to common residential and commercial distributed audio applications. Simplified switching of popular consumer audio sources such as an iPod, AppleTV, and BluRay player can be located near the listener and connected via Cat-5 to the FlexPort audio inputs. The SF-16M uses Sound Scenes, which are system-wide snap-shots of all volume and source settings. Up to 10 Sound Scenes can be stored and recalled. For installations with multiple SF-16M’s linked together, additional system-wide Sound Scenes can be stored and recalled across all units.

Behringer iNuke The light-as-a-feather iNuke power amps by Behringer weigh little thanks to high-density Class-D technology and ultra-efficient switch-mode power supplies. Using transistors with extremely high slew rates and optimizing other parts of the circuitry, these amps react instantly to the most demanding electronic bass impulses. And because they are more efficient than conventional designs, they don’t require the massive heat sinks and heavy toroid transformers typically associated with their conventional Class-D counterparts. The front-panel controls and indicators provide the system’s state of being quickly and simply. All channels feature positive-detent gain controls with signal LEDs that light when a signal is present, as well as clip LEDs to indicate when the signal is distorted and the input signal needs to be reduced. The rear panel has combo XLR and 1/4in. TRS input connectors and professional twist-lock speaker sockets. The rear panel houses switches that enable iNuke amps to work in either dual mono, stereo, or mono bridge mode. A built-in crossover switch enables the amp to operate in biamp mode, sending low-frequency content to passive subwoofers, while the high-frequency output is channeled to full-range loudspeakers.

The iNuke DSP series amplifiers have built-in DSP and 24-bit/96kHz converters to ensure signal integrity with an extremely broad dynamic range. DSP functions include a sophisticated delay for delay-line loudspeakers, crossover, EQ (eight parametric, two dynamic), and dynamics processing with lockable security settings. A convenient front-panel LCD display allows you to setup and make adjustments directly at the amplifier, without the need for a PC. All iNuke DSP models can be set up, controlled, and monitored via the front-panel USB connector. iNuke models include NU1000, NU3000, NU6000, NU4-6000, and NU12000. The DSP models include NU1000DSP, NU3000DSP, NU6000DSP, and NU12000DSP. All models feature a limited three-year warranty, ultra-efficient switch-mode power supply for noise-free audio, superior transient response, and low power consumption. They also feature Zero-Attack limiters offering maximum output level with reliable overload protection. Independent DC, LF, and thermal overload protection on each channel automatically protects the amplifier and speakers without shutting down the show.

Carvin’s DCM-L series is an amp that delivers great sound and reliability, ultra-light weight, models from 200W to 3800W, and made-in-the-U.S.A. quality. Each amp is Audio Precision tested, which includes a burn-in under full load to assure reliability and specs. The DCM3000L is 15lbs. and features ultra-low THD at 0.03 percent at 8Ω, soft-start power-up that prevents tripping AC breakers, Speaker Guard that protects from harmful DC, shock-proof SMT reliability, and a three-year warranty. The Class A/B linear topology features high current bipolar output devices that reduce distortion to a near theoretical zero limit while delivering high slew rate performance. Five high-ratio 6063-T5 flow-through aluminum heat sinks remove heat fast with multispeed fans that run quiet under 2Ω loads. Air is pulled from the rear and exhausted to the front to keep the rear of the rack cool. The accessory group features recessed front controls with status indicators that won’t get bumped or easily moved. A rear ground lift switch eliminates ground loops. A parallel input switch eliminates the Y adapter typically used for paralleling channels. The mono bridge switch delivers the full power of the amp (both channels) into one output. The limiters are available at the push of a button to help control peaks protecting your drivers. Connecting is done with balanced XLR and 1/4in. TRS inputs.

Crest Audio Pro-Lite 2.0The Crest AudioPro-Lite 2.0 power amplifier features a lightweight, efficient design with high power and stable performance. It is designed with an advanced, high-speed Class-D design with a switch-mode power supply that reduces weight while increasing reliability, thermal efficiency, and output power in parallel, stereo, and bridged modes. It boasts two channels with independent, fourth-order 100Hz crossovers and power ratings of 540W per channel at 4Ω stereo (up to 2,000 watts bridged at 4Ω) at just 11.6lbs. The onboard protection suite includes Crest Audio’s proprietary Automatic Clip Limiting (ACL) circuitry, which prevents the amplifier from sending potentially damaging clipped signals to the loudspeakers, as well as DC, temp, signal, and active safeguards, all referenced on the front panel with LED indicators. The Pro-Lite series is backed by a free five-year extended warranty.Crown DriveCore

Crown’s new DriveCore install series of amplifiers are based on proprietary technology and feature digital audio transport via Harman’s proprietary BLU-Link, balanced analog inputs, and a priority router that allows for the specifying of a primary input and automatic switching to the other input if audio is lost. HiQnet protocol over standard TCP/IP provides for better monitoring, control, and audio manipulation, as well as allows the Audio Architect software and powered by Crown app to work with DCi amplifiers. DSP capabilities include LevelMax limiters, input/output EQ, delay, matrix mixer, and speaker-line monitoring. Power points of 300W or 600W in 2-, 4-, and 8-channel configurations are possible in a 2RU form factor. They also feature direct drive constant voltage using either 70Vrms or 100Vrms. Highly efficient internal cooling fans provide airflow to the most heat-generating parts.

New to Electro-Voice’s CPS line are the multi-channel amplifiers CPS 4.5, CPS 4.10, and CPS 8.5. They offer 4- and 8-channel independent Class-D Variable Load Drive (VLD) amplifier blocks, each one capable of delivering up to 500W and 1,000W into Low-Z or High-Z loads. Each channel can be configured individually for maximum power output intoeither 2Ω, 4Ω, 70V, or 100V networks without involvement of any output transformers. In addition to low current consumption and heat dissipation, these amplifiers provide remote standby switching with just 5W consumption in standby mode. An optional remote-control module RCM-810 provides control and supervision features via IRIS-Net, including monitoring of amplifier status and realtime load supervision. In addition, via RCM-810, the variable load drive characteristics can be set for maximum power output into any load between 2Ω and 10Ω, in steps of 0.1Ω. Other features include rear-mounted attenuators, switchable 50Hz high-pass filter (Hi-Z mode), complete protection: thermal, overload, shorts, HF, DC, back-EMF, inrush current, Phoenix-type input and output connections, remote power-on/off contact, programmable power-on delay settings, and front-to-rear fans.

Extron XPA 4002 Extron’s XPA 4002 and XPA 4002-70V are the newest additions to the XTRA series of high-power, multi-channel power amplifiers. Both XPA 4002 models are now available, together with the XPA 2002 high-impedance models, XPA 2003C, and XPA 2004. The XPA 4002 and XPA 4002-70V deliver two channels of 400Wrms for low impedance and 70V speaker systems. Possible applications are large environments such as auditoriums, convention centers, and houses of worship for powering a large quantity of high-impedance distributed speakers, high-powered speaker cabinets, or paging horns. They feature a highly efficient, advanced Class-D design with patented CDRS (Class D Ripple Suppression) technology that provides a smooth, clean audio waveform and an improvement in signal fidelity over conventional Class-D amplifier designs. XTRA series power amplifiers are housed in a compact 1RU, convection-cooled full-rack width enclosure, and do not require fans for cooling, making them great for installation in racks as well as enclosures with limited space and ventilation.

Adding to the range of Martin Audio MA series amplifiers is the new MA2.0. At 1RU and 16lbs. this amplifier offers performance in a compact, lightweight, and cost-effective package. Delivering up to 1000W per channel (4Ω) this amplifier provides the power that will meet the requirements of small to medium-sized applications such as stage monitors and installed and portable sound reinforcement. With clip limiting, DC, VHF, and thermal and AC protection built in as standard, this new addition to the MA range of amplifiers is fully featured to meet the most demanding situations. Features include advanced Class-D output stage, switch-mode power supply, low inrush current, built-in clip limiters, variable speed cooling fan, comprehensive front-panel indicators, and fully protected circuitry.

Rane MA 4The 100W per channel, the 4-channel Rane MA 4 amplifier achieves exceptional power density and reliability in a space saving 1RU, 19in. rackmount chassis weighing only 8lbs. A universal-voltage switching power supply provides superb power factor, reducing peak currents to 1/3 compared to non-power-factor-corrected supplies. Unique features including constant load power, built-in automatic redundancy switching, and advanced dynamics control, qualify the MA 4 for the most demanding fixed installation applications.

TOA’s AV-20D introduces a new entry in small amps for plenum use. The AV-20D features an ultra-compact design with a flexible compliment of inputs, power configuration, and control options. Carrying both UL2043 and Energy Star 2.0 certification, the AV-20D also features micro Class-D amplification, bass and treble control, input signal present indicators, and a remote volume control port.

Yamaha TXn seriesA fusion of Yamaha power, DSP, and network technologies, the DSP-enabled TXn series provides benefits like saving rack space or eliminating cabling. Truly versatile: Not only is the TXn flexible in its I/O formats, but voltage gain/ sensitivity can be adjusted in 0.1dB steps. Detailed control and monitoring parameters not found in conventional amplifiers are now available from a remote location. A combination of analog inputs and card slot inputs provide failsafe signal redundancy. The ultra-low latency AES/EBU card’s “THRU” output is designed to send signal even in case of power failure on the amplifier. All TXn models incorporate a 24-bit ADDA 96-kHz DSP engine. In addition to basic amplifier control and status monitoring, there is ample DSP power built in to provide extensive speaker processing capabilities that can make external processors unnecessary in most applications. Onboard DSP parameters and functions can be accessed directly through the LCD and button interface provided on the front panel of the amplifier, or via Yamaha’s amplifier control software running on a computer connected via Ethernet.

Social Media Quick Guides

Social media is a huge topic in business as companies are trying to figure out how to maximize returns on investments, reach an online audience of millions, and continue to brand well. This trend to find a new audience online is slowly moving towards the church and with this unventured trail, we want to offer you some great insights into how to use social media well in ministry with volunteers, congregation members, and people who have not even been to your church yet.

social media on iphoneHere are some social media statistics to throw at you on how big social media has become as well as how diverse and ever-growing it continues to develop towards.

  • The average Facebook user spends 405 minutes a week on the social media site.
  • 80% of social media users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook.
  • 70% of Facebook users are on via their phone and 61% of them use it every day.
  • 32% of all Internet users are using Twitter.
  • Only 23% of tweets get a reply.
  • 26% of retweets are incited by a request to retweet.
  • The Google +1 button is used 5 billion times per day.
  • Websites using the +1 button generate 3.5x the Google+ visits than sites without the button.
  • Google+ active users spend over 60 minutes a day across Google products.

For the next several weeks, we will be doing a series of social media quick guides to help you get your church from nothing to running well on several different social media platforms. They will include the basics of using the specific network effectively, how to not use the network incorrectly, and how to take advantage of each network’s uniqueness. The culmination of all of these tips will be three new eBooks that we want to give exclusively to the ChurchTechToday community.

Below is a list of the topics that we will be covering over the next several weeks:

1) Facebook for Churches: Key to Social Media Success

2) Five Facebook Ideas for Churches

3) Twitter for Churches: Key to Social Media Success

4) Five Twitter Ideas for Churches

5) Google+ for Churches: Key to Social Media Success

6) Five Google+ Ideas for Churches

Written by Jeremy Smith  //  April 15, 2013  // Church Tech Today

How Cool Is Too Cool for Church?

I had to reprint this excellent article regarding the transitioning of worship styles within the church.  Read on for the author’s insights and findings with just two churches and how different the approach should be.  The short-story is know the vision of the church and follow the direction of the pastor.  The techs, especially your volunteer team, must be very involved in the process.  Enjoy!

by Andy McMillan

20621_bannerA few years ago I was attending a church that was in the process of transitioning their musical style. In less than a year they went from a single worship leader/singer, a drummer (that wasn’t mic’d), a bass player that just played out of an amp on stage, and a piano player, to full band with a guy who brought in three different guitars every week, three keyboard players (piano, keys and organ), a drummer with a fully mic’d kit, a percussion player, and 12 background singers on wireless mics. Needless to say the volume more than doubled.

During this same time, the lighting for the services went from no colored lights at all and a bright room, to tons of color and moving lights, and a dark congregation. During that year the church experienced a large congregation shift. Many left the church because they felt what was happening was “over the top”. They felt it was too “showy” and too much like a performance.

Many churches have successfully transitioned their worship style. But how far is too far? How cool is too cool for church?

Every church is unique, so we asked two pastors from two very different church environments for their opinions were on this topic.

Dr. Jeremy D. Sims is the music and high school pastor at Kingwood Church in Alabaster, Alabama. Dr. Sims says, “It isn’t about what is ‘too far’, it is about the vision of the church and the goal of who the church is trying to reach.” He says he’s observed a consistent issue with some church production departments where the techies are more interested in “playing with their toys” than they are concerned with supporting the vision of the church. To further illustrate his point he adds, “I would rather have a mediocre production guy that was excited about the vision of the church, than have an incredible production engineer that was not concerned with the direction the pastor desired.” He made it clear that “too far” is relative to who you are, the background or history of the congregation, and the vision of the senior pastor.

Next we talked to Pastor Jason D. Mayfield, music pastor at Bethany Assembly of God in Adrian, Michigan. His perspective is very different. He says, “There is no such thing as too far or too cool, but there is a such thing as too fast.” Pastor Jason concludes that lighting or video effects or even volume levels in church are never too much. He suggests that church congregations can handle it as long as they are transitioned into it. “It takes time to get any church acclimated to change,” Mayfield says. “If you want moving lights running through haze, then start out with the just moving lights for a while and slowly add haze to the room. If you want your audio to be louder, take time to slowly raise it to where you want it. Don’t just turn it up.” He says that it simply takes time to transition any group of people to what the goal is. He believes it had less to do with what they will tolerate due to their background and more to do with how to transition them to the new way of doing things.

So how far is too far? A single answer could never cover all types of churches. The more important questions are: 1) What are the vision and philosophy of the church? And, 2) How, and how fast should the service transition to fulfill the vision of what the leaders desire?

If the tech staff is properly addressing these two questions, then there may not be such a thing as “too cool”.

After spending almost a decade as a FOH engineer and integration specialist, Andy McMillan left his FOH position and is now student pastor at Turning Point Church in McDonough, Georgia.

Video Streaming 101

With today’s technology it is easy for people to video stream their worship services. Most people that know anything about computers can stream video. But should you jump right in and start streaming video tomorrow with a cheap camera and little preparation? This all depends on how you want your church portrayed to the people who may watch online.Sanctuary 01

You can make your church look great, or you can make your church look bad. If you dive right in with little preparation, it will likely show in your video stream.

Keep in mind that this could be a person’s first impression of your church—watching your video stream online. The first impression you make could impact their decision on whether they watch again, whether they decide to come to your church or, most importantly, it could make or break their decision about the Lord.

So it is very important to put some thought into how you do your video stream. Here are some points to consider as you’re getting started:

1.) Is the lighting in our church conducive for video? 2.) What camera do you need? 3.) Who will run the camera or cameras? 4.) Do you want to stream live? Or should you record, edit and upload? 5.) Should you use a free video streaming site? 6.) Do you need a dedicated internet feed? 7.) Where will your audio feed come from? 8.) What other equipment do you need?

You need to think about all of the above before putting any video of your church online.

For your church to look great, you need to make sure the lighting you will be using when videotaping will achieve the quality/look you want. Are there places that are not lit up; are there shadows?

What camera should you purchase? The camera can be a big factor in how your video looks. Should you use a camera or cameras that will require a person to run? Or should you get a robotic camera system where one person can run multiple cameras from one location? If you use a camera that is operated by a person, you will need a quality tripod so the camera moves smoothly. If you use multiple cameras, how will the operators communicate with each other?

Another important considerations is, do you have to recruit more volunteers? How will you make sure you have people to run things every service?

Keep in mind that it is better not to always use an IMAX view for video—shots of the congregation interacting/worshipping can help to make your video great, and not just so-so.

If you’re thinking of live streaming, here’s a crucial point to keep in mind: The video can only be viewed at the same time as your service—no matter what time zone potential viewers are in. Here are some other important items to consider:

1.) When live streaming, you get what you get. There is little to no editing when streaming live. 2.) Most free streaming sites will put commercials into your live stream. 3.) Can you store the video online so it can be viewed at a later date and time?

The use of a dedicated internet feed and computer is oftentimes the best way to go. This way, the stream is the only thing running on that feed. The more things running on a feed, the slower it can be.

Audio, too, must be considered. A good way to ensure high quality audio for the audio feed is to use an aux send, if possible. This way you can mix what is sent to the video separately from the house mix. In addition, using a microphone to pick up the audience will make it sound more like they are in the church service. When viewers can hear the congregation interacting, your service will seem livelier.

A final item to consider is this: What other equipment will you need? You can get as elaborate as you want or you can keep it simple. Adding DVD recorders, video mixers, and switchers all depends on your church’s needs.

You want the people who view the stream to not be distracted by low quality video, bad editing, or dead spots for a live feed. The main thing is to make sure the focus is on sharing the word of God.

by David Jordan, from Church Production Magazine