Saddleback Church Expands Its Ministry with Avid

On Easter Sunday 1980, Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, California held its first public service, with just over 200 people in attendance. Over 30 years later, Saddleback is touted as one of the nation’s largest congregations, with a weekly attendance of over 20,000 and more than 200 ministries serving the church and community.

Saddleback now encompasses four campuses, each equipped with state-of-the-art audio and video systems, and the church maintains an active presence on the web, thanks to the efforts of a media-savvy technology department. Saddleback’s Lake Forest sanctuary was recently treated to a major audio upgrade, with the help of Case Sound Solutions and the church’s senior audio engineer, Wally Grant.

 I believe the Profile system is as good, or better, than any console on the market today, digital or analog.
Wally Grant, senior audio engineer, Saddleback Church

Profile delivers amazing performance and versatility

Grant and Case Sound installed two 96-input Profile Systems—one at FOH and one at the monitor position—along with a Pro Tools | HD system at FOH. They also installed a 96-input Pro Tools | HD system and ICON D-Command console in the church’s recording room, which also features a dozen PRE microphone preamp units.

After researching all the live sound options, Wally Grant and FOH/monitor engineer John Wilson, both long-time Pro Tools users, found Profile to be the best overall choice for the church’s varied audio needs. “I believe the Profile system is as good, or better, than any console on the market today, digital or analog,” Grant offers. “VENUE Software allowed us to have the system configured even before we received our consoles. Since the systems have been in place, their performance has been 100% reliable.”

 The ability for [engineers] to store their shows on their own flash drive is very helpful.
John Wilson, FOH engineer, Saddleback Church

John Wilson adds that the dual Profile systems are ideally suited to the church’s wide-ranging needs. “Any given week here can include sermons, services, concerts, conferences—you name it. Profile’s snapshot automation enables us to save and recall settings for individual songs and speakers. We have a number of engineers using the system, and the ability for them to store their shows on their own flash drive is very helpful.”

Wilson says the church’s pastor of worship, Rick Muchow, prefers the monitor console to be at FOH position during weekend services, so the room was designed with that flexibility in mind. “The system is configured so we can relocate the monitor desk at the traditional stage side position when needed, and the Profile console is light enough to easily move it.”

Studio-quality live recordings made easy

The church’s recording engineer Mike Mierau, another Pro Tools veteran, says the move to Profile and ICON systems was a logical choice. “We’ve recorded on Pro Tools for some time now, and being able to take a feed directly from the Profile FOH system into the ICON in the studio is a huge advantage.” Mierau then edits the sessions on the recording room’s Pro Tools | HD system using a D-Command console, streaming the services live and archiving them for future downloads. The Pro Tools | HD system at FOH also records the services for use with Profile’s Virtual Sound Check.

The system at front of house features a Profile console that handles 96 inputs and 16 outputs, plus two HDx Option Card installed in the system’s FOH Rack that allow for up to 128 tracks of audio recording or playback through the connected Pro Tools | HD system. The monitor system features a Profile console configured for 96 inputs and 24 outputs, plus two ANO A-Net Output Cards installed in the system’s Stage Rack that provide a direct interface between the Profile system and Aviom remote mixers for personal monitoring. A Pro Co Sound Momentum digital snake provides line and mic signals to both the front of house and monitor Profile systems, as well as to the PRE units in the recording room.

 We can do even more than we’d anticipated with the systems.
John Wilson, FOH engineer, Saddleback Church

Feedback from Saddleback’s technical crew has been overwhelmingly positive, though no one is surprised. “We knew in advance this was the right way to go,” says John Wilson. “The only surprise at this point is discovering that we can do even more than we’d anticipated with the systems.”



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