The 6,800-seat main sanctuary of Bellevue Baptist Church in the suburb of Cordova, Tennessee, has completed a complete renovation of its audio systems, including extensive acoustical work throughout the sanctuary. The HOW is one of the leading churches in the Southern Baptist Convention and the largest church in Memphis. The project was led by the church’s long-time systems integration partner, Paragon 360, which had previously designed and installed a scenic, lighting and video system.
USA: The installation features three DiGiCo Quantum7 consoles deployed at FOH, monitors and broadcast. In addition, an SD12 console has been added to the church’s fellowship hall. “When looking to update its loudspeakers and consoles, the church required a mixing system with a high channel count, and DiGiCo was one of the few that could handle this, being able to mix 256 inputs and offer 128 outputs, all running at 96k,” said Mark Coble, audio/acoustics design and commissioning lead at Paragon 360. “Reliability and customer support were also very important reasons they chose to go with the DiGiCo platform.”
The new DiGiCo Quantum7 console at Bellevue’s FOH mix position
In the main worship centre, two fully loaded, 32-bit mic preamp-equipped SD-Racks with custom distribution are located onstage. Two additional SD-Racks are found offstage to take input from all of the existing floor pocket inputs, with a fifth rack, an SD-MiNi, parked at FOH. “Two more SD-Racks are in the broadcast suite for capturing local sources and distribution of signals via analogue and AES,” added Coble. “An SD-Rack with custom distribution is also located on the fellowship hall stage and one SD-MiNi Rack is in the offstage room for system drive.”
A BroaMan Optocore AutoRouter is managing all the SD-Racks via fibre-optic connectivity and allows the entire campus to be interconnected. A pair of DiGiGrid MGR units are being used to support 128 channels of recording and playback for virtual soundcheck at both FOH and monitors. A DiGiCo Orange Box is an on/off ramp for Dante within the system to support the church’s Axient wireless microphones and any other Dante devices that are on the network.
Paragon 360’s Mark Coble at the DiGiCo Quantum7 in Bellevue Baptist’s broadcast control room
One of the technical challenges was addressing how the broadcast console would be able to access the inputs from the worship centre and fellowship hall. The process of switching venues was previously done through a large analogu patch bay, which was time consuming and prone to errors. Paragon 360 designed the console system with an Optocore auto-router so that the fellowship hall could live on the same fibre loop as the worship centre consoles, giving the broadcast console full access to all available inputs at any time.
The project was also notable for its time constraints. “We had to completely decommission the old system with its traditional three-way splitters and install the new DiGiCo system in the main sanctuary within four days so the church could continue to operate on its normal schedule,” Coble recalled. “Not easy, but we did it. Now, the church benefits from a high input count, excellent reliability and the same software platform across all SD/Quantum consoles.”