As a world-class ministry located in College Park Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, World Changers Church International (WCCI)— founded by world-renowned author, conference speaker and bible teacher Dr. Creflo A. Dollar—caters to a local congregation of approximately 8,500 in its dome, as well as broadcasting its message to satellite locations worldwide. For nearly thirty years, WCCI has operated with entry-level analog consoles to handle their live audio production, however, the technical crew began exploring stepping up to a more appropriate digital system several years ago. That search let them to investigating DiGiCo's SD7 and SD8 consoles for its FOH and monitor needs respectively. The sale was facilitated by Roy Drukenmiller and Mitch Donner of Rock-N-Road Audio and installed in a 3-day turnaround with the help of the church volunteer staff—Carlton Reeves, Jeffery Stubbs, Femi Afuape, and Kirk Bowie—and church staffers, Jeff Sparks, Mark Hawley, John Eley, and Hall Williams.
"Matt Larson from DiGiCo flew in the Monday prior to the Atlanta WFX show in November of 2010 to give us a tour of the SD7," recalled WCCI FOH audio engineer, Hall Williams, who toured extensively with a host of top Gospel, Jazz & Reggae artists prior to settling down at World Changers. Rock-N-Road owned an SD8 and they brought it in for an in-house demo with Matt, Roy and Jim Greene present. "We imported two CDs of all the tracks from one of our Sunday services into Reaper using the RME MadiFace card. We just brought the faders up to â€˜0', with no EQ or Dynamics, and we were amazed at how big of a difference the DiGiCo sound made. I then had a chance to dial in a mix, which confirmed our first impressions. The console blew us away and I knew we had to have both consoles for our Dome. We figured if the SD8 sounded this good at house position, it was a no brainer to get the SD7 for Front of House and use the SD8 for our monitor needs." â€¨
What sold Williams and the WCCI staff on the console overall was features, sonic quality and footprint. "I've known about DiGiCo since the D5," he recalled, "as an engineer on the road with many groups of many genres, I've played with all the toys and consoles in the industry but when I got a look at the SD7, it was the best of all worlds! Initially, we looked at the AVID and there was something about it that didn't tickle my fancy because of the plug-in situation… everything was ala carte. And for what we wanted to do, it would've been more expensive. What I love about the DiGiCo's are the busses, auxes, EQ, compressors, groupings, the dynamic EQ. I like how it's set up, I like that everything's onboard, and I like the size. To be such a huge console in sound quality of our room and application with such a small footprint was really great. We've had them running since the end of December and they're working wonderfully. Matter of fact, they're gold! Once we hooked up the consoles and ran them through our VDOSC/DVDOSC rig powered by LAcoustic/Lab Gruppen amps with XTA processors, the sound quality improved drastically immediately resulting in astonishing audio excellence—and a big difference from what we had. I don't think I can really explain how simple my job has become with this console, how easy the changes are to do on the fly. It's been lovely."
Williams says of all the features of the SD7 he's using in his capacity as FOH engineer, perhaps the Dynamic EQs and Multiband Compression are among his must-haves. "But there's so much to choose from!" he laughed. "In addition to the Dynamic EQs and Multiband compressors, I've found that the snapshots are really intuitive and very flexible. I'm using that along with the matrix section a lot—which is a lifesaver! It's literally cut our workload, pre-service checklist, and rehearsal time in half. The Control Groups/DCA's are really nice and it's fantastic to have more than enough (32, in fact, on the SD7). I've found the effects to be smooth-sounding and having an abundance of them onboard really enhances my mixing pleasure. The matrix section, grouping and control groups are so intuitive, I forget sometimes I am on a digital console! I'd say the SD7 has solved every sonic and functional challenge I have ever had in my mixing career… and that's been 20-plus years!"â€¨