Hide Away Front of House Audio System

Our latest install proved to be important by making the most of a multi-purpose room in a simplistic way. Reverend Thomas Brackbill from First Presbyterian Church of Alma, approached us looking to update their existing system to a new and simple-to-use system that had great coverage for the room. Their existing system consisted of speakers mounted on poles and a single wireless lapel microphone, which could be moved and used by anyone using the space.

First, our crew had to view the space to determine the best design for the cost and efficiency they were seeking. After we had a plan, we focused on coverage of the room by safely suspending two JBL speakers powered by Crown CDi. We chose the CDi series because of the onboard DSP, in return helping us stay within their budget. The front of house location was established by a rolling Gator Case that housed the Soundcraft mixing console and four channels of Shure wireless microphones. By housing everything in this case, the FOH was kept small to ensure it could be tucked away in a closet or easily moved out of the way for maximum utilization of the room.

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This system will serve their needs and is a great upgrade to their multi-purpose room, all while staying with the church’s budget.


A New Use for Aluminum Foil

Break Interference with Aluminum Foil: 

Recently, Oncore AV was hired to help manage the stage at a major outdoor music festival with 40,000 people in attendance. There were the usual challenges faced with outdoor venues, but there was one specific challenge that was unrecognizable until after the set up was in place.CellTowerTwo major wireless cell phone carriers installed temporary remote cell tower antennas in order to facilitate the large audience with their smart phones in a small concentrated area. While the team was setting up for these major national acts, the monitor engineer noticed a high-pitched noise in his ear monitors, but couldn’t nail down where the sound was coming from.

We determined that guitar amplifiers are highly vulnerable to these radio frequencies considering it’s an unbalanced device with a large open area that is unprotected against radio interference. In most cases, the interference is not recognized inside buildings due to the filters of brick walls, concrete or wooden structures that attenuate the high-frequency, high-pitched digital radio waves.

To stop the interference from the cell tower, we took a quick trip to catering to get a roll of aluminum foil and placed it between the cell tower and the amplifier, acting as a shield and the interference went around the amplifier itself. Although aluminum foil is an easy fix, it didn’t eliminate the sound completely. It definitely attenuated the interference of the amplifier by 20-30 dBs. This was unrecognizable to the in-ear monitor system and the multi-thousand watt sound system for the audience.

If we can hear this complication audibly, then the question should arise, where does the responsibility lie? For us, the solution was just as simple as aluminum foil, but for the public, there’s definitely a need for concern. Does the cell tower owner need to adjust its antennas, power level or positioning of the remote towers; or is it the responsibility of the amplifier owner and the sound company to protect its equipment from this interference? It’s up for debate, you decide, and leave your comments below!

Our simplified solution for large church productions


With their large theatrical performances, Blythefield Hills Baptist Church in Rockford, Mich. began to experience difficulties with their analogue patch bay and their limited 72-input console. Oncore AV was approached by the Worship Arts Technical Director Don Hamblin with a vision of simplicity for their audio needs. Together, we focused on creating and installing a new system that no longer needed an analogue patch bay and increased their available inputs, while allowing for two board operators. We also hoped to achieve a versatility of work surfaces for the vocals, worship team and wireless microphones.

Oncore AV began the project by considering several manufacturers, but for the church we decided the Allen and Heath iLive products were ideal because it was the most cost effective, while still meeting all the ministry’s needs. We used an iLive-144 connected to two IDR-64 stage boxes that allowed 128 inputs to accommodate their 96 available input points in the sanctuary. The Allen and Heath ACE Network connected the surface and stage boxes on each side of the stage with a single Cat-5e cable. When the symphony is on-site, the stage right IDR has the option of being moved up to a separate location, which consists of all the inputs for the instrumentation.

During a large performance for Christmas or Easter, the church uses up to 48 wireless microphones. Facing this, we did not want to take away from the 128 inputs we currently set up for instrumentation. So we used the Allen and Heath IDR-48 connected to an iLive-T112 through the ACE Network and then connecting the outputs via Audinate Dante technology off port B of the IDR-48 and IDR-64 Slave. This gave them a full digital system with up to 176 inputs between the two systems. For personal monitoring they use a mixture of wedges and Aviom A-16II personal monitor systems. Having the D800-Dante from Aviom allows use of 16 outputs from either console while not using any of our 32 analogue outputs.

Between Hamblin’s vision of simplicity and versatility and our trained professional opinion, we believe this system will work smoothly for their large upcoming productions. Blythefield Hills Baptist Church will now have an easier understanding of how to incorporate numerous elements that engage well throughout the entire performance, making it less confusing by incorporating two separate surface boards.