Woodstock church gets immersive with DMI-KLANG
Wednesday, 22 February 2023
klangFBCW technical director Joel Hilsden, lead production director Josh Belokonky and audio associate Nick McClure at the church's DiGiCo Quantum338
USA - First Baptist Church Woodstock (FBCW) is no stranger to major undertakings. Spanning three centuries, the church’s current 16,000-member congregation worship in a 7,500-seat worship centre in its 435,000sq.ft building on an 80-acre campus in the North Georgia town of Woodstock twice each Sunday.
Last year, FBCW notably became the site of the world’s largest permanent installation of L-ISA immersive sound technology, which is paired with DiGiCo Quantum338 consoles at front of house and monitors. Now, the church has embraced immersive mixing in the house and in the ears with its December addition of a DMI-KLANG module, supplied by the church’s integration partner, Diversified.
FBCW’s monitoring landscape is certainly an ambitious one. Every Sunday, there are two completely distinct worship experiences. The first, starting at 9:30am, is choir-driven with a sizable individually mic’d front line backed by a full band and orchestra. After the conclusion of that service, a second 11:00am service begins that is band-driven with a completely different set of songs, musicians, and vocalists.
Nick Geiger, account executive, worship environments at Diversified, says the move into immersive sound for FBCW’s stage monitoring came about as part of the same conversation that saw the immersive audio move with the PA. “With so many different audio sources, the need to expand the sound field to hear more distinction between the different voices and instruments is critically important. It was also equally important to maintain the high audio fidelity that the musicians have gotten used to having.” He reports. “With the native integration of the KLANG into their DiGiCo workflow, the changeover was simple and immediately effective.”
According to Geiger, KLANG also brought a practical solution to FBCW’s stage monitoring needs. “With the limited time each week to flip the stage, moving 16 of the monitor mixes to KLANG, where those musicians can adjust their own ears without the assistance of a monitor engineer, freed up time for the monitor engineer to focus on the mixes that are sourced from the monitor console. The overall efficiency of getting the stage monitors dialled in has increased tremendously with this change.”
“The church’s monitoring needs are on a scale I haven’t encountered anywhere else,” says Joel Hilsden, FBCW’s technical director and the church’s regular monitor engineer. Hilsden is one of three full-time audio professionals on staff there. “Basically, monitoring for the choir is like a FOH mix, with active changes as the music dictates, tailored for the choir’s needs. The monitors themselves are a line-array system hung above the loft for the 150-plus singers each Sunday.”
Each of the two worship services requires up to 20 different IEM mixes. That’s up to 40 distinct mixes handled by a single engineer each Sunday. Beyond that, vocalists and band are on a rotating schedule, rarely appearing on back-to-back Sundays in either service. The audio team has been utilizing every tool available to provide the kind of consistency that one might expect from a fixed cast or touring band.
“With limited rehearsal time, preparing the monitor console for rehearsals and services is its own challenge,” says Hilsden. “There simply isn’t time to build every mix on the fly from a generic start file. We have always relied heavily on the console’s mix presets to be sure we’re beginning each rehearsal with a familiar personalized starting point for every IEM mix on stage. With our 11:00 band rehearsing mid-week, it’s mission critical that the console recalls everything precisely across all inputs and outputs during our 15-minute set change.”
Hilsden describes the introduction of the DMI-KLANG into their weekly routine as “completely seamless. We thought we’d be adding complexity to our workflow, but since the console is able to store and recall KLANG settings in its mix presets and snapshot system, it functions like part of the console, not an added piece of outboard gear.”

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