FEATURE - Sooyoungro updates
A new sound system, based around DiGiCo digital consoles and d&b speakers, has been installed at Sooyoungro Church in South Korea.
A common sight in the southern city of Busan, as indeed throughout the rest of South Korea, is a plethora of architecturally sophisticated churches looming over the rooftops. One such structure is the Sooyoungro Church, founded more than four decades ago but based in a building that, though constructed in 2001, looks entirely futuristic. In keeping with its exterior, the church has just undergone a major overhaul of its sound system, installing DiGiCo digital consoles and a MyMix monitoring system supplied by local distributor Soundus, plus the installation of a d&b audiotechnik loudspeaker system.
‘The church needed a new system because over the years the size of bands performing there had got bigger,’ explains Seongjune Park, team leader for the Soundus Busan office. ‘The old speakers were good enough for speech applications, but when it came to music and “bigger” sounds, it just didn’t deliver the necessary SPLs.’
The main sanctuary at Sooyoungro Church has room for up to 5,000 worshippers. To accommodate its growing congregation, which currently stands at 35,000, 10 main services are held each week: two on a Wednesday, one on a Friday and seven over the weekend, in addition to a daily morning prayer service.
Eight different companies entered the running for the project, with many major speaker brands putting forward a bid during the tendering process. In the end, the church opted for a d&b solution as it fulfilled the two main criteria of stability and good suitable presets, allowing feedback to be controlled effectively.
The main system consists of 10 d&b J8 and two J12 speakers in left/right hangs per side, with three J-Subs per side concealed behind panels. Additionally, a system of 16 Ti10s and four Ti-sub installation speakers has been provided for the upper balcony, while 16 E8s cover the under balcony area, a single d&b 24C column speaker provides left frontfill and two 16C column speakers are being used for delay. The system is driven by 12 d&b D80 and 10 D6 amplifiers. On stage, monitoring is via four M4 and 10 M6 wedges, and Soundus has also supplied a 16-channel MyMix personal monitoring system, providing eight separate monitor mixes on stage for musicians.
Soundus provided Sooyoungro Church with two DiGiCo consoles; an SD5 which has been installed at front of house, and an SD8 located in the broadcast control room. The church had previously been installed with a DiGiCo D5, and as the operators were used to the sound and functionality of DiGiCo they wanted to stay with the brand.
Unlike many other churches, Sooyoungro doesn’t rely on volunteers to operate its equipment, instead employing three full time engineers who have been fully trained on the system. The most recent recruit, Jaemin Lee, joined the church in April. ‘I’ve always worked as a church engineer, and I like working with DiGiCo,’ he says. ‘I particularly appreciate the preamps and dynamic EQs, and it’s very intuitive.’ Mr Lee isn’t currently using much of the consoles automation features however, instead mixing most services live. ‘I mix lots of very similar situations; nothing changes very much, apart from different vocalists participating,’ he says. ‘We have presets for certain things, like drum sounds.’ Services typically feature around eight musicians, including cello, trumpet, percussion, drums, guitar, bass guitar, a main keyboard and second keyboard.
Sangwoo Jeon is manager of the broadcast room, based up on the fifth floor of the church. Services are filmed by 10 cameras around the sanctuary, and audio and video feeds are relayed to a total of 20 different rooms around the building. Mr Jeon also masters content from the church services here, receiving a feed from the auditorium and mixing it down to two channels. This mastered content can be streamed onto the church’s YouTube channel, and recorded programmes occasionally go out for TV broadcast on channels including CTS (Christian Television System) and CBS. The two DiGiCos share an SD-Rack stage box and are operated in mirror mode, providing redundancy if necessary. ‘It’s a very suitable system for our purposes, and also very stable,’ says Mr Jeon.
A good selection of microphones is provided at the church, including a Sennheiser EW 500 G3 radio mic system, eight DPA 4098 hanging supercardioids suspended over the choir stall, an Earthworks PM40 piano mic, five AKG C414s, eight AKG C480s, four AKG C3000s, three Crown CM-700s, a Shure DMK7 drum mic kit and two SM57s, two Countryman Isomax 4 podium mics and Radial and BSS DI boxes.
Sooyoungro church is enjoying the improved audio quality its new sound system has given it, which echoes the cutting edge sleekness of its exterior.