A church with an immersive perspective
USA: National Community Church (NCC), based in Washington DC, is a non-denominational, multi-site church with a unique way of bringing church and community together daily. For example, what was once a crack house has now been refurbished into a very popular coffeehouse, where the profits go towards NCC’s community outreach programmes. NCC uses a number of Regal-chain local movie theatres to host weekly worship services, some with tech installs by NCC that help the spaces better suit the church’s needs. One aging theatre, which NCC now calls ‘The Miracle Theater,’ had its audio system completely upgraded recently. NCC played a part in that renovation, which included an in-ear monitor and mixing system. The space is also available for rent for performances or galas.
The discovery of the Klang 3D In-Ear mixing solution for The Miracle Theater was a fortunate happenstance. Mike Semmel, production director of NCC, recalls that he was first looking for the latest ways to integrate new features into the facility’s current Dante infrastructure. Audinate’s website had listed Klang Technologies, a company from Aachen, Germany, as a compatible option so he researched it. ‘For us, the Dante compatibility was the big selling point. Also, due to our relatively small stage, we don't have room for a monitor console. This allowed us to clean up the stage a bit and still offer flexibility to our worship leaders, to change their own mixes wirelessly.’ A second discovery was how Klang technology allows 3D placement of sound sources within a 2-channel mix, including the option of facilitating head-tracking; a musician can turn their head, and the mix dynamically changes, making the placement of sounds follow head position, as in real-life.
Chris Douglas, worship leader at NCC is a regular user of the church’s Klang:fabrik in-ear mixing system. He enthuses: ‘The 3D space and feel is awesome! It is about as organic as playing with IEMs can get. With normal stereo, you are able to space instruments out, but it lacks depth, it is just flat. The 3D audio imaging really changes that! If I am the front man in the band or subbing in on bass, I can position everything as it relates on stage. Game changer!’
Mr Semmel caps NCC’s experience by lauding the working relationship with Klang, citing as a major benefit ‘how active the team is in dealing with issues as they arise as well as always looking to improve and update the interface. There are a few items in the software that are a bit challenging to navigate but overall it’s a great system.’
Further to the 3D mixing experience, Mr Douglas concludes ‘the 3D space really opens up a new space in your monitor mix, giving every part its designated space. The ability to hear clearly gives you confidence to play your role and stay out of someone else's lane. This is also super helpful as the band leader because I can confidently give feedback to all parts of my band because I know for sure what they are playing.’