Houston church upgrades to SSL Live
Monday, 29 March 2021
ssl-churchThe church’s new L350 console is integrated on a Dante network
USA - Towards the end of 2020, the new leadership at Houston’s Sagemont Church, which was established in 1966 and is associated with the Southern Baptist Convention, introduced a contemporary worship music service to appeal to a younger congregation.
To meet the demands of the new modern service, the church upgraded the aging sound system in its 2,500-seat sanctuary, installing a SSL Live L350 digital mixing console and replacing the PA speakers.
Lead audio engineer Evan Warren says, “We have a new pastor, a new worship leader and a whole new direction, and we wanted to do modern contemporary rock ‘n’ roll-style worship music. But our PA and console were pushing 10 years old and falling apart. The faders on our old console were moving on their own and the old PA just wasn’t cutting it.”
Having already spent a lot of time dreaming about equipment as a young engineer, Warren says, it didn’t take him long to narrow down the mixing console choices to an SSL Live L350. “I thought, what can do the I/O count, what is flexible and, bottom line, what sounds the best? I wanted sound quality to be a high priority, because you don’t get to upgrade a desk and PA at the same time very often.”
AVL equipment supplier and integrator Hairel Enterprises, based in Conroe, Texas, installed the SSL Live desk and the new d&b audiotechnik KSL speaker system all on the same day, shortly after the church’s final Christmas service.
Warren can handle front-of-house, monitors and a broadcast streaming mix from the 24-fader L350, which offers 96 channel preamps. The church’s new system also includes a Fader Tile, a self-contained, 12-fader console extension, acting as a second operator position managing monitor mixes for the band — which can include up to a dozen musicians and singers. “We have a monitor station and we’re running the SSL Live SOLSA app on a PC for the monitor control. But I wanted to be able to run with one engineer if I had to, if the monitor engineer had to step away,” he says.
The improvement in audio quality as a result of the upgrade has had an impact on his mixing, reports Warren. “The crazy thing is that I don’t need to do a lot of my ‘tricks’ that I’ve used over the years. I’ve stopped parallel compressing vocals and drums. Between the SSL and the d&b rig, everything is so clear, punchy and defined that I don’t need to force things up in the mix anymore; they just have their place.”
The integration of the SSL Live console has also brought a noticeable improvement to the audio quality of the musicians’ in-ear monitors, he adds. “We had a bass player who plays in a regional country band come and fill in and he said it was the best ears he’d ever had.”

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