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Largest Innova SON Fixed Installation

Sheffield Family Life Center rides the technological crest (October 10, 2001)
The recently constructed Sheffield Family Life Center in Kansas City, Missouri rides the technological crest, boasting instantaneous audio recall from three Innova SON Essential Live digital consoles located at FOH, at monitors, and in a recording room. The 3500-seat sanctuary is home to a spirited Pentecostal, multi-cultural congregation that utilizes the facility for a multitude of ministries and programs. Because the church uses the sound system for disparate purposes every day and night, Innova SON's instant recall of all parameters proved the lynchpin that allowed the center's sound engineers to simultaneously harness their powerful sound system for every program and then to transition easily between those programs.

Project engineer and designer Brian Elwell headed the project for industry powerhouse Acoustic Dimensions, who handled auditorium design, acoustics, sound isolation and noise control, audio systems, video projection, and theatrical lighting for Sheffield. Architect Mantel and Teter of Kansas City, Missouri designed the structure, and A/V Contractor Harvest Productions, also of Kansas City, installed the sound system.

High-energy gospel music rings through Sheffield's acoustically impeccable sanctuary, supplied by a 125-member choir backed by a contemporary band. True Left-Center-Right EAW speaker clusters support the church's frequent theatrical productions, and a comprehensive video system guarantees every seat a close-up view of the platform. Sheffield's broadcast ministry, "Living Answers for Today", uses the new facility's comprehensive broadcast, video, and audio production suites.

During the facility's design, the church expressed concern over the large number of events that would share the sanctuary and its sound system. They realized that the simple analog console from their old facility would fall far short of what would be required in the new facility. At the same time, bringing in a larger console would seriously complicate transitions between events. Elwell recognized that a "best of both worlds" solution existed in the Innova SON Essential Live console which combines ease-of-use with instant recall of all parameters (in-line processing included) and comprehensive mixing power (equal to the demands of the larger sanctuary). Now, instead of keeping fallible and tedious notes for session setups, church members simply save sessions in an organized directory structure.

While the Innova SON Essential Live Consoles exceed the dynamic range of the rest of the system (as many analog consoles would), they make a marked sonic impression in terms of in-line processing capabilities. Elwell was able to dispense with the usual collection of outboard equalizers, compressors, and gates, instead relying on the comprehensive suite of processors available in the Innova SON consoles. "Having any number of processors available on every channel allows the church to tighten-up their sound in ways that would be impossible with traditional outboard gear," noted Elwell. "With outboard gear, users are forced to pick the handful of channels most in need of processing. Everything else goes unprocessed, even if it needs it. That's not the best way to mix."

The Innova SON models also fit nicely into Elwell's larger scheme of maintaining simple wiring and digital signals. An Innova SON stage box with a three-way split handles all the microphone signals to the three consoles via two coaxial lines. He arranged for flawless digital synchronization from the stage box, through the consoles, and into a Peavey Media Matrix system. The Media Matrix delivers LCR sound to Crown MA Series amplifiers and flown EAW clusters. The recording room maintains a digital signal throughout, ending at a digital recorder. From start to finish, the Sheffield Family Life Center sound system embodies elegance, harmony, and power.

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