KLANG and DiGiCo assure no limits on Church Unlimited’s monitoring

Church Unlimited Sound Engineer Mike Pena mixing a service on the church’s new DiGiCo Quantum338 FOH console

“Pretty much any time the church staff calls me up and asks if we can do this or can we do that, the answer I can always give them is, ‘Yes!’” says Parker Gann, System Engineer at MessengerAVL, the Conyers, Georgia-based integration firm that designed and installed a new audio upgrade for Church Unlimited.

The Corpus Christi, Texas campus of the non-denominational, evangelical, multi-site church, which seats over 1,500 worshipers and is also its broadcast centre, completed a major audio systems upgrade in February in which MessengerAVL installed a KLANG:konductor immersive in-ear monitor mixing system routed through a new DiGiCo Quantum338 front-of-house console.

A Quantum225 desk, used as the church’s new broadcast console, was also part of the upgrade package. “It’s their largest campus and their flagship campus, and now it’s their most advanced campus when it comes to audio,” Gann adds.

Gann says the decision to add KLANG to the package for monitors was an easy one, based on its capabilities. The KLANG:konductor was designed with monitor engineers and fixed installations in mind. The top-of-the-line mixing system delivers 16 immersive mixes and processes 128 input signals at up to 96 kHz with an internal processing latency of less than 0.25 ms.

“I had not actually planned on using the DiGiCo integration with the KLANG system when I designed this project—the KLANG:konductor was originally meant to be standalone. But when I started playing with the integration between it and the Quantum338, I realised that it was a great way to keep things like the channel and aux names synced up, and we could use aux mix presets on the console to recall musician settings,” he explains.

“If the drummer moved to be the guitar player the next week, we could recall his mix on that pack immediately, and I really appreciated that kind of workflow. I’ve always loved doing monitors on DiGiCo because of things like mix presets, so combining that with what the KLANG:konductor could do with the immersive IEM mixes was just super cool.”

In fact, he adds, the decision to implement KLANG meant that they could forgo adding a new monitor console, creating substantial cost-savings for the church. But what really put the ball through the goal posts was the immersive aspect. “I tried hard to convince them that it’s life-changing, and they just didn’t believe me—until they heard it,” he laughs. “They put headphones on and I made them a binaural mix, then A/B-ed them.

“I said, here’s the mix without KLANG, and then I hit the button to go to surround and everybody’s jaws hit the floor! They could not believe how good it sounded.” Based on the success of that demonstration, MessengerAVL added eight additional transmitters to the package, allowing every musician and vocalist onstage to experience immersive monitoring.

Also part of the package is a DiGiCo MQ-Rack, a 48-input, 24-output rack with BNC MADI connectivity. Used as the primary stage box and a link to the church’s Quantum225 broadcast console, it connects the KLANG:konductor and the DiGiCo consoles via MADI and Dante.

“We are using five DMI-DANTE64@96 cards across the system,” he says. “The KLANG has a Dante card and a MADI card; the Quantum338 has two Dante DMIs in it and MADI built into the console natively; and the Quantum225 also has two Dante cards,” he explains.

“We basically use one Dante card for their video I/O and some RedNet equipment, and we use the other as a Virtual Soundcheck card. There’s a lot of flexibility and capability built into this system. Now, they’ve got extra channels and processing to spare, and the flexibility of the DiGiCo consoles allows them to do basically anything they need to do. They love the sound quality, they love the flexibility, and they’re very happy with it.”

That is certainly the sentiment the church expresses with the new KLANG and DiGiCo gear. “Coming from a dedicated monitor mixing console, the addition of the KLANG:konductor has been amazing,” says Walter Wilson, Church Unlimited’s Lead Production Director.

“The first thing we all noticed was the clarity of the KLANG, and then the seamless integration with the DiGiCo console. It creates an entire ecosystem that’s totally flexible and intuitive to use, which is very important when you have volunteers running the systems. It’s a massive upgrade in capability and a huge win for all of us.”

The shift to DiGiCo has been its own new chapter in the church’s sound narrative, Wilson further notes: “We’re coming from having used multiple consoles in the past, and what we find with the Quantum consoles is that, no matter what you want to do, there seems like there are always multiple ways to get there. In the church world, you get a lot of questions about ‘how can we do this or that,’ or ‘are we equipped for this or that,’ and the consoles’ ability to match its flexibility with our worship experience, with features like plugin integration and the tactile feedback the worksurfaces give you, is just amazing. It really feels like the console comes to life. The whole ecosystem of KLANG and DiGiCo is just perfect for us.”