The “Sing! Global 2021 Getty Music Worship Conference,” recently hosted by Christian music writers/singers Keith and Kristyn Getty at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, saw Brentwood, TN-based audio and lighting provider CTS AVL also handling the conference’s broadcast and audio-recording tasks with an infrastructure consisting of three DiGiCo SD5 consoles for front of house, monitors and broadcast, and an SD12 96 desk for production.
Further, utilizing three SD-Racks and DiGiGrid MGB interfaces between consoles and computers, the system handled over 160 inputs, managing more than 50 separate mixes for bands, groups, choirs, and an orchestra. The annual event brings together worship leaders, music directors, composers and others in the worship-production sector for workshops, panels, and uplifting music.
“In past years, we had used an analog infrastructure to break out signal for front of house, monitor and production, but with the addition of broadcast this year and the ever-growing input list we needed to create an all-digital infrastructure that was reliable and easy to use,” explains Mike Taylor, CTS AVL Vice President. “That meant DiGiCo, was an obvious choice because we were able to source all we needed to the growing system in town due to the readily available products in Nashville.”
The number of inputs was driven both by the size of the event, which draws participants from around the world, and by the fact that it focuses heavily on acoustical music and instruments, reflecting the Getty’s Irish-music heritage. Production, comprising speakers, prerecorded audio, choir and orchestra, totaled 72 inputs alone.
Brooks Abbott, CTS AVL audio engineer supervising the event, says the DiGiCo SD environment is what allowed them to meet the needs of the conference. “Last time, we were still at around 120 inputs, but with a large band and choir and an orchestra the input count quickly went to 160 inputs, plus another 50 to 60 for monitors, so we knew we needed the kind of solution the SD consoles, along with the SD-Racks and Optocore network, offered,” he says. “It was all about capacity and workflow now.”
Beyond the SD consoles’ I/O capacities, Abbott also cites functionality such as the ability to mix between consoles. “We had an SD5 at front of house for the band and the SD12 96 for production, and also to mix down the orchestra to stems for FOH and the SD5 at monitors, so they wouldn’t have to handle all of those individual inputs. Even though the consoles were pretty much maxed out, we were able to bounce audio elements down between desks without ever having to go to copper, which kept the audio quality high and the workflow very efficient.”
At monitors, he notes the large number of guest artists were able to be handled on the SD5, as the engineer created presets for each one during sound checks, with dozens of performers’ mixes about to recalled on the fly as each artist joined the house band. He also notes that being able to do all of this on a single Optocore network made cabling for the sprawling event far easier, including connecting to the SD5 broadcast console, which had been set up in a locker room in the venue.
“Being all on one network made it easy to transport all of the channels and mixes we were sending him,” he adds. Three DiGiGrid MGB interfaces—two out of broadcast where they multitracked 128 channels and one at FOH where it was used for virtual soundchecks—added to the overall system flexibility.
All but the monitor console also had Waves processing integrated onboard. “It was a lot of music and speaking, and they were often moving between those one after the other,” says Abbott. “The way the SD consoles were set up, and with their huge I/O capacity, we were able to move through all of that smoothly and easily.”