Lakewood Church reaches millions with Studer
USA: Lakewood Church, the largest congregation in the United States, is anchored by a 16,000-seat worship centre. Formerly the Compaq Center multi-function sports and entertainment arena, Lakewood’s Houston, Texas campus hosts four English services, two Spanish services and a diverse range of other weekly events. It welcomes more than 43,000 attendees to these services weekly, and produces a series of broadcasts that are seen by more than 10 million viewers in 100 countries every week. The church’s sound engineers recently completed a long search process for their next audio console that could meet the demands of this massive volume of services and broadcasts, with customisation that would accommodate their extensive requirements.
‘We started shopping for a new main mixing console a few years back and installed the Vista X about a year ago,’ Brad Duryea, director of audio technologies at Lakewood Church, says of the choice of a Studer by Harman digital desk. ‘Not surprisingly, we have a pretty hefty requirement for I/O count, channel bussing count, feature set and expandability. We looked at all the major brands and Studer clearly met our needs.’
The relatively compact Vista X console employs Studer’s Infinity Core digital engine; Studer boasts of the console’s flexibility, power and dependability. Studer's Vistonics user interface and FaderGlow technologies are incorporated into the operational paradigm for what Studer calls a ‘uniquely intuitive and stress-free operator experience,’ while Studer’s ‘Quad Star’ topology uses four parallel processors for control surface redundancy along with dual DSP processors for signal path redundancy. ‘With the intensity at which we operate, we really need fast, smooth operation,’ says Mr Duryea. ‘One of the things Studer does better than anyone else is allow us to accomplish complex operations. It doesn’t matter what it is, everything about the Studer console is quick.
‘The console has the I/O counts and channel counts that we need as well as several newer features that are really helpful,’ Mr Duryea elaborates. ‘Dynamic EQ is very important, and we needed it to be integrated into the board. Studer is great to work with, and they made this happen. The new Follow Solo feature is excellent for fast monitor work as well. It’s all easy, powerful and sounds great.’
Additionally, Lakewood Church has two broadcast rooms and two editing rooms. All consoles are connected via Madi over fibre. Live sound is routed from the arena to the editing suites for TV, web and/or satellite postproduction and broadcast without any lapses in sound quality throughout every step of the production.
‘When we installed the Studer console, we knew we’d hear a difference in our live sound, but we didn’t expect our broadcast folks to notice the jump in quality like they did,’ Mr Duryea enthuses. ‘Even the musicians were amazed. We have a keyboard player who has a dedicated speaker for an organ, and he started to recognise a ‘noise’ from the rotating cabinet until we realised he was just hearing a whole new level of clarity.’