Product Reviews

Behringer X-Touch

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by Gary Williams

With the expanding use of DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software to enhance live worship, whether self-produced or purchased from a third party such as Loop Community and other providers, we see an increasing need for tools that speed up your workflow.

The Behringer X-Touch is both a highly visual, intuitive, surface controller with 100mm moving faders, and also serves as a remote surface for any Behringer digital mixer up to and including the popular X32.

Here's how I use mine:

Home Studio aka as "The Living Room" (No, I'm not married.)

The X-Touch gives me complete control of Logic X running on a Mac. It performs all the critical, repetitive functions quickly without having to navigate a mouse around a large screen. More detailed functions like EQ adjustment, and fine tuning effects can be performed on the X-Touch, but I still prefer to drag EQ filters with a mouse and to manage plug-ins directly on-screen, although it's nice to know that I can make a quick adjustment on the controller with its function and value labeled on the backlit scribble strip.

If you're like me, one of your favorite things to do is memorize complicated keyboard shortcuts.  Well, maybe not.  Thankfully, the team at Behringer gives us clearly labeled buttons and knobs for all of the fixed functions, and backlit labels that change according to the function. This makes the X-Touch easy to navigate at a glance.

I also appreciate the large transport control buttons and jog wheel. In a short amount of time, I found that I didn't even need to look at the X-Touch. My fingers find those buttons on their own.

The jog wheel makes it simple to put my playhead right where I want it, alleviating one of the frustrations of every DAW I've ever used. On-screen timeline rulers are small and require precise mouse movement. For the number of times each session that I have to grab that mouse, the time savings add up quickly.

The biggest time saver for me is the ability to mix down multiple tracks at once. Even with some purchased tracks, certain sounds and parts cut through the mix better in different environments and within different sections of a song. 

If you create your own loops or tracks, this is even more critical.

Read more: Behringer X-Touch

 

"Do you mean to tell me that no one makes...?"

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It's the company joke that a couple of our clients have very unique feature requests, and that they ask this exact question from time to time.  "Do you mean to tell me that no one makes a [fill in the blank]?"

In the discovery phase of video system planning, we ask lots of questions. We find that some churches are concerned more about presentation of computer graphics (still images and motion backgrounds, along with file-based video), and others are focused on having live video as the primary source. Choosing one or the other makes it easier on us, but the more common answer is that our clients want both.

stacks image 3045If you're using live video (cameras) for a typical event like a worship service, you have two audiences – the people who attend live, and the people who do not. And if you think about it, the needs of each group are very different. The live audience may not need to see the faces of those leading the event, but the audience watching your video stream or recording certainly does. How will you allow both to only see what they need to see?

Our challenge is finding a way to do both, and doing it well.

Read more: "Do you mean to tell me that no one makes...?"

   

A projection screen to enhance the architecture, not hide It.

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Da-Lite Wireline Advantage Screens

Wireline™ Advantage® Eliminates Black Drop and the Compromise.

IMG 5800When we're asked to install a traditional projection screen in a room with soaring ceilings, elaborate stone work, a cross, and/or other architectural elements, it's often a challenge to place the screen at the appropriate viewing height without covering something up.  The way around getting the projection surface into the right location without having an exposed screen roller (or obscured aesthetic and design elements) requires what's called extra black drop.  Black drop is essentially an extended fabric border (above the projection surface) that can be several feet tall.  That extra fabric allows us to install the screen in such a way that roller itself is not seen, but adding the extra fabric usually requires some sort of visual sacrifice. 

Having screens manufactured with extra black drop is a good solution in many cases, but the new Wireline Advantage from Da-Lite has changed the way we look at new projects.  The Wireline Advantage uses thin steel cables up to 29 feet long, instead of black drop, to lower the screen surface to an appropriate viewing height, while hiding the roller enclosure. The result is a large display that is almost invisibly suspended at the right viewing height, leaving the architecture of the room right where you want it - in plain sight. 

The Wireline Advantage is designed for larger venues, and is a unique solution that will allow you to appreciate both your technology and your architecture. 

Please call us if you have questions about integrating the Wireline Advantage into your next project or upgrade. 

Click the Read More link below in order to view more project photos.

Read more: A projection screen to enhance the architecture, not hide It.

   

How to stop your tech volunteers from quitting!

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Every...single...week! 

The grind of weekly set-up and tear-down will consume your volunteers, unless you give them the tools they need.  It's that simple. 

Virtually all churches we work with, especially those that are mobile, struggle with the same issues.  Whether it's developing skilled sound and video operators before their families "want them back", having the time and resources to develop skilled people at all, or just the drain of getting started at 5:30AM for the 8:00 service and striking it all after lunch, keeping weekend production teams going forward is a tough job. 

Let's make it easier! 

What's the most thankless job on the weekend services production crew?  Cable taper - hands down.  Especially if your church sets up and tears down every week, your crew spends a lot of time on its hands and knees with rolls of gaffer's tape (that's often the wrong width) measuring out a couple arm's lengths and ripping it with their teeth, while trying to keep the lines straight. 

And we ask why our volunteers don't stick around.  

What if we could help you make taping cables the job that people wanted to do? 

Happy tapers stick around to learn other tasks, feel more productive and spend less time crawling around on the floor.  And really, who wants to crawl around on the floor? 

The GaffGun from Gafftech might well be your best-ever investment in volunteer retention and growth.  Imagine 10 minutes of taping being reduced to a minute.  Take a look at the video below. 

Read more: How to stop your tech volunteers from quitting!

   

Sneak Peak - Bose F1 Flexible Array Loudspeaker

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There's been a lot of buzz around portable PA the past few years, thanks mostly to power amplifiers becoming smaller and lighter. The idea behind portable is that you can take it anywhere, the downside of which is that all performance venues are not alike -- so the decision of what to buy has always been a question of what's the best fit for most situations.

The engineers at Bose have come up with a solution to speaker systems easy to understand (and even easier to implement) for small to medium-sized venues. A few months ago, we got to look at, and listen to, the new Bose F1 Flexible Line Array system, and here's what we thought after our initial demo.

Four speakers in one box! With a simple push or pull to the top or bottom of the speaker array, it was easy to reconfigure the elements to cover a wide variety of rooms vertically. Take a look at the images below to see what we mean.

coverage 1  coverage 2 

coverage 3  coverage 4

With the speaker position in J configuration we were immediately able to cover the front rows with the speakers above the listener's heads on a platform or stage. The effect was immediately noticeable as the elements were manipulated. The "C" configuration could cover a small hall or church with a stage and a balcony while the reverse "J" configuration nicely covers a room with no platform and a raked floor or balcony where some of the listeners ears are position higher than the speakers. Straight allows you to keep from bouncing sound off the ceilings when not needed. Pattern control is a beautiful thing.

Read more: Sneak Peak - Bose F1 Flexible Array Loudspeaker

   

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What others say

Just a quick note on the two Da-Cappo DA12's our church purchased from you last week. Wow! They really reproduce the voice accurately, whether speaking with the omni, or singing with the cardioid. This was money well spent! Thanks for great advice, as always.

Vic Schiro