Established in 1936 as Glad Tidings Church, Good News Church sits on a hill in Omaha, Nebraska. Having changed its name to better reflect the language of current times, it recently modernised its sound system with the addition of a DiGiCo SD12 mixing console and Klang:fabrik immersive IEM mixing solution, both supplied by the local office of Conference Technologies Inc.

Good News Church worship teamAccording to Good News Band Leader Aaron Ott, who has also served as the lead keyboard player here for the past 13 years, the church took on an extensive update of its audio facilities, upgrading everything except the loudspeaker system of its 750-seat sanctuary, which was built in 1975 following the destruction of the previous worship space by one of the worst tornadoes in Omaha’s recorded history.

‘Our monitor world, in particular, was actually quite behind the times,’ he recalls. ‘We’ve used in-ear monitors for a dozen years, but we were using mono mixes directly from our old console. We really needed additional monitor mixes for our team, and we knew we needed stereo, at least, but we had never been sold on other personal monitoring solutions due to their limited channel counts and extra clutter they brought to the stage.’

Having discovered Klang:technologies online, Ott brought it to the attention of church sound engineer Greg Peteler as ‘it stood out as a truly unique and flexible system’. Learning that Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas uses a Klang system, the two attended a weekend service to experience it and see how it was being used. Both Ott and Peteler were impressed and quickly contacted Ben Shipman at AVA Reps, who supplied Good News with a DiGiCo SD12 and Klang:fabrik for a few days of testing.

‘We needed eight to ten discrete monitor mixes with 48 input channels,’ Peteler says. ‘Considering the DSP-to-channel count balance in the Klang system, mixing 48 channels with surround processing allowed each fabrik to deliver four fully immersive monitor mixes, requiring three fabriks to meet our minimum with a few extra mixes.’

Good News Church’s new SD12 is paired with Madi and Dante audio networks, three Klang:fabrik units for 12 immersive monitor mixes, and a Dante-based multitrack recording system. Audio arrives at the SD12 via the Madi SD-Rack or via Dante. The console then pushes out 48 monitor channels via Madi to the daisy-chained Klang:fabriks.

Good News Band Leader Aaron Ott with the three KLANG:fabrik units during the system’s pre-staging prior to the final installationThe church’s own tech team pre-staged most of the new system in a second location to build the network, test the signal chain, and configure all the routings. ‘Lifting and shifting’ into the auditorium was then seamlessly accomplished mid-week between services.

Like many of today’s church bands, Good News performs in a wide variety of musical styles, including pop-rock, contemporary Christian, gospel, electronic, acoustic, and jazz, and occasionally brings in additional instruments – violin, cello, saxophone – for special events. Prior to the pandemic, the church also regularly hosted a diverse 40-voice gospel choir that Ott describes as ‘a huge part of our culture’, which has been temporarily replaced by smaller vocal ensembles.

Each musician and vocalist has a dedicated iPad for managing their monitor mix during rehearsals as well as for displaying chord charts or lyrics during the services. Ott additionally has the Klang:app running on his keys rig computer, while Peteler also has the same app on his computer at the FOH position if assistance is needed.

‘Moving to the new set-up, I figured it might take us a while to fine-tune everything, but the transition was quite fast and painless,’ the bandleader reports. ‘Over the first few weeks as we rehearsed with it and adjusted to mixing in surround, trying different configurations, our confidence quickly grew. Looking back, it was clearly the best decision we could have made, and the difference in quality and separation is astounding.’

‘Most of my sound design and keyboard work is prepared in my own studio,’ he continues. ‘I had built such a habit of eliminating most high frequencies and cutting certain mids in every sound I designed. With the new DiGiCo/Klang system, my sound design elements translate directly to the system as they should sound – beautiful and enveloping. No more weird “for the system” adjustments.’

Each musician and vocalist has a dedicated iPad running Klang:app managing their monitor mixThe rest of the worship team has embraced the new set-up as well. ‘Klang has helped me to play inspired again,’ enthuses Eric Klebba, one of the electric guitarists. ‘I’ve been able to find that motivation and excitement in playing live guitar that I hadn’t realised how much had been missing. Now, I’m not only able to hone in on my own tone and technique more precisely, but also narrow in on the nuances of what all of my other fellow musicians are producing.’

John Lawman, another electric guitarist, agrees: ‘Having the capability to place every instrument in the area I want, to give myself full surround sound, is extremely beneficial. I can much more easily distinguish every other musician and hear if I am playing overly similar or conflicting parts, which helps me know that I should play something different.’

Good News Church doesn’t have a separate monitor console, but, as Peteler points out, ‘With as easy as the Klang system is, it’s not a position we would consider necessary at this point. Even if we have new vocalists or entry-level musicians join the worship team that don’t know how to dial in a good monitor mix, we find that recalling presets from the lead instrumentalists provides them with a great place to start. It’s all very intuitive.’

And, Worship Director Carissa Carter adds: ‘I absolutely love being able to feel the music – every instrument and vocal – all around me. It helps us each perform our very best and has been such a tremendous blessing for both the worship team and our congregation.’

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