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DiGiCo Brings The Best Of Rock 'N' Roll Touring To Kcm

DiGiCo Brings The Best Of Rock 'N' Roll Touring To Kcm

May 2007 / For Immediate Release
Bill Johnson worked with some big names in live music – Dave Matthews Band, Concrete Blonde, Ice T, Widespread Panic – before hanging up his rock ‘n’ roll touring hat and taking his career in a slightly different direction. He is currently full-time Technical Director and Chief Audio Engineer for Kenneth Copeland Ministries (KCM), founded by Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, in Ft. Worth, Texas and also owns and runs Johnson Audio Works. At the church, he brings his substantial live sound experience to bear for an organisation that is spreading the Word of God on a global scale.

Bill’s most recent audio acquisition for KCM is at its Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, TX, where he specified one of the first DiGiCo CS-D5s in the world, purchased on the basis of its sound quality, ease of use, flexibility and, most important to Bill, its consistency.

It is easy to see why these factors are paramount when one looks at the set up of the Ministries. Eagle Mountain alone comprises an 1800 seat Main Sanctuary, 500 seat Chapel, used primarily for children’s services, and 500 seat Hangar, used for youth services. However, the church also goes out on the road where it typically has between 3,000 and 10,000 worshipers in attendance, depending on the venue size and event. Bringing the ethos of the live music touring environment into action has obvious advantages, and this is where Bill’s knowledge comes into its own.

He explains his console choice in a little more detail: “The other manufacturers we researched had products that sounded good but were difficult to grasp, or vice versa. We needed a solution that would fit our needs for the present and the future; and one that wouldn't intimidate a newcomer to digital consoles.

“I've operated almost every standard console out there and the D5 was the absolute easiest console to step up to and mix a show with. Case in point: a couple of years ago, I was hired to run Front of House (FOH) sound for an opening band at a major concert. During the advancing with the system provider, I was told that there would be a Yamaha PM5D at the FOH position. No problem, I've mixed on it before.

“The day of the show, I step onto the FOH platform to find a D5, not a PM5D. A little fear started to creep in - how am I going to pull this off? But after a quick, two-minute run-through with the system tech, I was well into soundcheck. By the end of soundcheck, I was pretty confident. By the end of the show, I loved it. That was what won me over, the ease of the introduction to the D5.”

The church’s console is configured for 56 inputs and 40 outputs, which meets the present needs for the stage foldback system and gives room to grow for the near future. It is also used in smaller event situations, where Bill operates the CS-D5 at the FOH position and still provides foldback support as well.

“We received the console in June 2006,” Bill continues. “Its primary function is the stage foldback console for our touring system. We did temporarily install it into the main sanctuary on campus over the winter, simply because I didn't want it sitting in a 53 foot trailer for all that time. This also gave the church operators some real-world experience on the CS-D5 - now they want one of their own!”

The church’s touring system comprises Meyer MSL-3s, UPA-1s, and R650 subwoofers with a Yamaha PM4000 at FOH. The foldback system is Meyer MJF, EV1502, custom IEMs and the DiGiCo CS-D5. The Main Sanctuary system is Meyer CQ-1s, UPA-1s, and 650 subwoofers, with a Midas Verona console. Foldback is via an Aviom IEM system with an Allen & Heath GL4000 console. The Chapel system is Meyer UPA-1s and 650 subwoofer, with a Midas Verona console. Finally, the Hangar system is Meyer CQ-1s, UPA1s, and 650 subwoofer, again with a Midas Verona console.

“As you can see, we try to standardize what we use for the road and around the campus,” says Bill. “It's a large task, attempting to find a particular brand/product to meet the needs of all the facilities. This is why I'm confident that there will be DiGiCo additions to the rest of the ministry soon.”

KCM also has a music production studio (both digital and analogue) and a television production studio on campus. The music studio is a hybrid of classic and contemporary equipment to meet the diverse needs of the church, complete with session players. The television studio houses the soundstage, video and audio post-production suites, designed by Russ Berger Group.

Bill is using the facility for an upcoming audio seminar, where he’ll be using the CS-D5 to demonstrate concert mixing techniques, part of Johnson Audio Works’ service. “I like using the D5 for this purpose because of the extended VGA ports,” he explains. “This allows me to teach a very large group using image projection. I still remember the old days of trying to get a dozen or so people gathered around me, looking over my shoulder while I mixed, or using an overhead camera. It’s so much easier using the D5.”

Bill has also started to utilise the ability to record direct from the D5. “Up to date, I've used 24 analogue outputs to a Tascam DM24 (from my home studio), which then feeds a notebook computer via firewire,” he says. “In the near future, we'll build a computer that will be housed in the same rack as the DiGiRack module. We'll then provide connections to the computer via the MADI optical ports. This will enable us to record 64 isolated tracks to the computer during an event.”

The DiGiCo experience has been good for Bill. He feels that most all other manufacturers could take a lesson or two from it on after-sales service. “DiGiCo’s Taidus Vallandi has provided us with excellent support,” he concludes. “Because we had the first CS model in use, we had a couple of ‘bumps in the road’ at the start. Taidus was there the whole way ensuring that we were well taken care of. He made us feel that we were the only ones who mattered at the time. I can't begin to tell you how important that was to me, knowing that DiGiCo would take the time to address issues, concerns, and even a few stupid-human questions.

“In short, the service from DiGiCo has been exceptional and valuable.”
In short, the service from DiGiCo has been exceptional and valuable.
Bill Johnson - KCM
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