12Stone Church (“12Stone”) is a multi-site church with eight locations spread across the counties of Gwinnett, Hall, and Barrow, GA. 12Stone was founded by Senior Pastor Kevin Myers and has been serving the community for the past 33 years. In addition to their onsite ministry, 12Stone reaches over 20,000 people through their digital ministry. The church has been using a variety of Royer microphones for over 10 years—first for studio and live event production miking and, most recently, for streaming services production to better reach their congregation during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Russell Allen, Worship Development Pastor/Music Director and Audio Director Dennis Frazier oversee the various aspects of the church’s audio production. They’ve acquired an impressive arsenal of Royer microphones, including R-121s, R-10s, R-122s, and an SF-24 Stereo Ribbon microphone. According to Allen, “We’ve had these mics for a good 10 years or so, but we really zoned into the R-121s and R-10s on the guitar cabs as recently as 4 years ago. Services are very contemporary in nature. We have 8 campuses with a full 8-10 person live band/vocal team. There are typically 3-5 front line vocalists and a 5-person backline (drums, bass, keys, and two guitars). We typically program a 3 song set list (same songs at each campus) per weekend.”
“For live performance, the Royer R-121 and R-10 (depending upon the venue) have proven invaluable for miking guitar cabinets,” Russell added. “We use the R-121s at our broadcast location at our Central Campus in Lawrenceville, GA, during the live weekend service. We would use R-121s mostly in the studio for random projects before that and, once we discovered the magic and durability of the R-10, we started replacing the live mics at some of our remote campuses with R-10s. In the studio, we record guitars in full stereo. We typically have a single R-121 on each cab of 2 full stereo guitar setups. Hence, 4 mics—on 4 amps.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed every aspect of life in recent months, and this includes the worship experience. Dennis elaborated on this aspect of 12Stone Church’s production. “Luckily for us, we had been dialing in our online sound and expression for ‘online church’ for some time before the pandemic. So, when COVID hit, we were mostly ready to handle the new challenge. We had so much success in the studio with the R-121s on our stereo guitar rigs that we decided to go completely stereo for our live broadcast using all R-121s as well.”
Dennis added, “Think about it, with COVID moving every church 100% online – now every person’s listening experience was immediately put under the microscope of a more ‘studio’ and ‘unforgiving’ environment. You must manufacture space, and reverb, and delay, and EQ to fill frequency space that otherwise gets lost in the room depending on the size and treatment of the space. We were so pleased with the real and raw sounds from our guitar world with the R-121s that it really helped shape our mix philosophy for our online expression. We are a guitar forward modern rock worship culture and the R-121s help us capture the uniqueness of our sources in the purest and truest way.”
When investing in audio production equipment and in its applications, questions inevitably arise and quality support services are crucial. “While I haven’t ever needed any technical support from Royer, I have had numerous conversations with John Jennings to help me understand how to get the most out of our investment, and this helped me make the right decisions. All of my interactions with Royer have exceeded my expectations.”
Reflecting on his overall experience with Royer ribbons, Russell offered these parting comments, “This may be a bold statement – but overall, I think Royer mics have made us better producers and better source architects. What you put in comes out in an articulate, musical manner. The mic captures your source with scary detail and consistency—whether the source is good or bad. I can trust the Royer mics to always do their job for a long time, as long I care for them well! The consistency and quality we get from our Royer ribbons enables us to trust our ear, experiment, and land on a sound at the source that we know will translate into any mix. We couldn’t be happier!”