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Houston Northwest Church is one of the city’s major spiritual centers, a Baptist
church that can host more than 2,000 congregants. Music is an integral part of
their services, which combine a contemporary and traditional feel with music that
can range from hymns and gospel to rock and country. To help support this wide
variety of musical styles, Houston Northwest Church (HNW) recently installed a
Soundcraft Si3 Digital Live Sound Console.

“We needed a new console because our old one was past the ten year mark and showing
its age,” said Clint Collins, HNW media director. “It was a 48-channel console and I
had every channel taken up with a need for more room to expand. With the old analog
configuration I had to have three full racks of outboard EQs, compressors, limiters
and other gear, and our patch bay was over 25 bays long. We were long overdue for an
upgrade.”

Collins needed a console that could handle the large-scale requirements of an HNW
service. “I run six wireless mics in addition to 10 ensemble mics, five choir mics
and four wired solo mics. Our band configuration is 12 channels of drum mics, two
electric and two acoustic guitars, bass, three keyboard players, percussion and
sometimes even a brass section.”

“I looked into various digital consoles and kept coming back to the Soundcraft Si3,”
Collins noted. “I have been an analog guy pretty much my whole engineering life,
although I’m also a certified ProTools engineer, so being used to using nothing but
analog desks and analog outboard gear, I needed something that would allow me to
make the transition into the live digital world as quickly and easily as possible. I
have never liked ‘banking’ through layers of parameters or searching for the source
I am trying to mix quickly. My band often requires me to make changes on the spot
and major changes between songs.”

“I needed a console that would, although digital, still have a fairly large
footprint in order to make access to priority channels a breeze. The Si3 allows me
to make multiple changes quickly and easily. Another advantage is that so many
features are built right into the console, including all the onboard compression and
limiting, reverb and time-based effects, and input/output virtual patching. All this
allowed me to put my patch bay and outboard racks on a serious diet! It’s now so
much easier to recall setting for various songs and multiple services.”

“I love the quality of the sound and the onboard effects. The compressors sound
great and the Lexicon effects are a tremendous step up from our previous time-based
units. Also, I need to have the option to gate any channel across the instrument
spectrum and the Si3 allows me to do this.”

The Si3’s value was also a factor in Collins’ decision. “Our church, like many
others in today’s economy, was under pressure to keep the budget for the upgrade as
low as possible and make the most out of what we spent. The Si3 gave us a tremendous
amount of features and room for expansion at a fraction of the cost of other digital
consoles. Basically, the Si3 was my bridge into the digital mixing world and I would
not have been able to do it if the Si3 didn’t offer so much for the money.” Ease of
use was another factor. “I am extremely pleased with how easy it has been to set up,
configure and learn the functionality of the Si3 in a very small amount of time.”

The Soundcraft Si3 Digital Live Sound Console is designed for installed sound and
tour sound and is ideal for houses of worship, music venues, theaters, broadcasting
and other applications. The Si3 offers total ease of operation – above each fader is
a Virtual Channel Strip with rotary encoders that change function according to the
mode selected, providing ready access to key parameters. The console provides
extensive connectivity and configuration options including 64 mic inputs, four
stereo inputs, 24 bus outputs, four independent Lexicon processors and more.

Scraft\_HoustonNW.jpg

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