Equipment List: Audio

For a few of these posts, I’d like to give you an overview of our production equipment and tell you a little bit about how we utilize it. These posts will only be about our main auditorium, but I will discuss in other posts how we utilize equipment in our other venues. Also please understand this, in a world of new and shiny gadgets it’s easy to see things other people have and want those things, but part of my responsibility as the Media Director is to be a good steward of the finances I’ve been given to oversee. So remember this, just because someone else has something doesn’t mean you need it. Get what you need and not what you want.

|Just because someone else has something doesn’t mean you need it. Get what you need and not what you want.|

via @allenwfarr

Over the last year or so we have made a significant upgrade to our audio system in our main auditorium. At front of house (FOH) we are using a Digico SD10. This console fits our needs well. The biggest challenge for us and the reason we decided on this console was the output capability. On any given Sunday, we have roughly 30 mixable outputs between in-ear mixes, wedges, main out puts, and other peripheral mixes that go throughout the campus.

Previously, we had a Digico SD8 at FOH, but it didn’t have the output capability we needed. We decided the SD8 would best be suited in our Production Suite as our Broadcast Console. Both the SD8 and the SD10 have basically the same layout, and they both look very similar, so cross training on either console is very easy.

Within our audio system, we have a total of 3 digital splits to manage audio. The first two are our audio consoles, but the last split is used for our multi-track recording. For our digital spliting we use a device called a MADI Bridge built by RME. This device allows all of the control devices to see all of the inputs from our MADI racks. Each device, the consoles, and the multi-track computer see the inputs at the headamps and can affect change all on their own. In other words, mutes, EQs, FX, Channel names, and anything else other than Gain can all be applied differently at each location.

As far as our speaker system goes, we utilize a EAW KF730 line array system for our main arrays, and then supplement for coverage in different areas of our auditorium. This system suits our needs well for our style of music and size of our room.

For a reference, I’ve put a pretty high level list together below that talks about our main components of our system. We use far more gear to make services happen on a weekly basis than the list below. Cables, microphones, mic stands, DI boxes, and audio interfaces. If you have questions about those, I would be more than happy to tell you what we use and the experience I’ve had with them.

Equipment List:

What is the primary gear you utilize on a weekly basis?


FB Live: How To Livestream Your Church Service

I’ve had a few people recently ask me how we actually accomplish our Facebook Live stream with our church service. So today I want to answer most of those questions (hopefully), but if you have others, please don’t hesitate to ask me about them.

So you come to the place where you want to stream your church services, and you’re trying to figure out how to accomplish it, but don’t know where to start. Perfect! I’m here to help. In the way we have it setup there are 5 main components. I’m not going to talk about these components in much depth in this blog, but I will in other posts.


So the first thing you will need when setting up your FB Live streaming setup will be cameras. We have a multi-camera setup, but that is not a requirement. The advantages for a multi-camera setup would be:

  • the ability to be on one camera shot while setting up another camera shot
  • camera placement can change weekly for some cameras while still keeping a consistent look of the overall production
  • making the viewing audience feel as though they are apart of the service rather than simply observing through a window
  • more interesting camera shots

Some of the cameras we have are manned cameras and others are stationary. The manned cameras are the kind you would see a news crew using. These are large cameras on a tripod that have excellent image quality.

If you are only going to use one camera I would recommend two things: don’t stream the music portion of your service and make sure your stage is the only thing in frame on your camera. You’ll want to make it the most pleasant you can for your streaming audience so determine where your pastor will be on stage and frame up that portion of the stage on camera. This will make it so your pastor is as large as possible on screen for people watching.


The next thing you will need to determine is what and how you will manage your sound. We determined the best scenario for us is to have a separate audio mix for the stream. We do this with a separate console that is located in our production room. The person mixing in this position can focus solely on the mix that will go out through our stream. This is definitely not a requirement, however it does provide the best audio quality.

One option would be to simply use the onboard microphone, or an external mic plugged directly into the camera. While this option will work, it will give you the worst audio quality.

The option I would recommend, if you don’t have a separate sound board, is taking a mix off of your main audio console. The easiest mix would be a matrix feed of the main mix. This will provide separate volume control for the streaming mix, and it will also ensure that what you are hearing in the main room live is also going out to the stream.

Video Switcher

If you plan on using more than one camera, some kind of a video switcher will be required. We have found the Blackmagic Design equipment has been a very good fit for us. It’s very versatile and cost effective.

The video switcher is really the heart of your streaming system if you have multiple cameras. It’s where everything comes together from audio and video and is sent to where you need it to be sent. The Blackmagic Design switcher requires that everything be in the same resolution and frame rate, and once you have that accomplished, then you are all set.

If you don’t plan on using multiple cameras, then you don’t need a switcher. You would need something like a capture card or a capture device. This is a device that takes your audio and video and allows you to input it into your computer. BlackMagic Design also has some devices for that.


Once you have all of your audio and video equipment setup, you’re now ready to get everything into the computer. For our setup, we use one of the Blackmagic Design Deck Link capture cards in an older Mac Pro. Our audio and video are combined within our switcher, and then sent to the capture card using a HD-SDI cable. This is a high quality coax cable.

On our computer we use a piece of software called Wirecast. Wirecast is a virtual software switcher, but the real advantage for us is it allows us to send multiple streams to our streaming provider.

Streaming Provider

Finally, once you have everything setup and ready to go, you need to figure out how to get your audio and video you are capturing, and put it into the hands of your people. For this we use a company called The nice thing about a streaming provider is they make your job a lot easier. You have enough to worry about within your physical building, so let someone else take care of where your signal goes outside of your building.

For us, we send our streaming provider to two separate streams. One is a high quality HD signal and the other is a lower quality SD signal. The reason for this is so that no matter what kind of wireless signal strength the person watching your service has, they should be able to see the service, even if it is the lower quality stream.

Final Thoughts

Understand none of the items listed above are a requirement, however, I would argue there is great value in putting more money and personnel toward your online streaming platform. Right now we see an average of 10,000 – 11,000 viewers per month across all of our streaming outlets.

I’d love to hear how and what you use to stream. If you have a question about how we stream or maybe some equipment you might be looking into, I would be more than happy to give you my opinion.

The Power of Consistency

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I know in my personal life, consistency is a big thing. For me, when I return to the routine after a vacation it’s honestly a refreshing thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love vacation and I wish I could take it more often but there is something about the routine that feels good.

I believe this is something we can also apply to church media as well. Over the last few years I have tried really hard to get our equipment around our campus more consistent. I’d like to think I’m looking at the campus as a whole rather than each room individually. So what has consistency done for me?

It creates redundancy.

Let’s say you have a piece of equipment fail in one room where you have an event that is happening in the near future. If you have that same piece of gear in another room, well grab it and put it back in the failed gears place. Even better, once you have the broken gear fixed, it doesn’t have to go back to its original home. It can go back to where you pulled the gear from to get you by.

It allows your volunteers to be cross trained.

Everything we do in all of the different areas of our church are not the same, however if you have the same gear in all of your different rooms it’s much easier for a person to walk into a room and recognize that the equipment is the same as the room they came from. And at that same time they feel more comfortable and now they only need to know what’s going on in that room and not how to use the gear in that room.

It makes purchasing equipment easier.

There are a lot of times you can get better pricing when purchasing things in quantity. Also, if you’re trying to find some obscure part for that particular room, it makes it easier not having to look for many different obscure parts or solutions because all of the equipment is the same.

It makes upkeep of equipment easier.

Storing files, repairing parts, replacing batteries, buying spares parts. All of this is now the same for every room. defines consistency as follows:

steadfast adherence to the same principles,course,form,etc.


agreement,harmony,or compatibility, especially correspondence or uniformity among the parts of a complex thing

Please understand this doesn’t happen overnight AND not every piece of equipment I have throughout our campus is exactly the same. However, where it’s feasible and where I can I try to make things consistent when it comes to the gear we use.

Do you have consistency issues? Do you need to try and make your campus more consistent? What are your struggles? What are you waiting for?