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New Hope Church Streams Services with eMotion LV1

Aug 24, 2020

With live streaming growing in importance during the current health crisis, North Carolina’s New Hope Church has adopted Waves’ eMotion LV1 mixer to broadcast its live services. Director of Creative Arts & Worship Dave Bookhout shares his experience and setup.

Dave Bookhout with eMotion LV1 at the New Hope broadcast room

Dave Bookhout with eMotion LV1 at the New Hope broadcast room

North Carolina’s New Hope Church has been broadcasting services from its seven campuses for a while; since COVID, however, “it’s become the most important thing we do on a weekly basis,” says Dave Bookhout, the church’s Director of Creative Arts & Worship. The eMotion LV1 live mixer and Waves plugins have been a major part of the church’s live broadcast setup: “Sometimes we broadcast live using the eMotion LV1, and at other times we pre-record and then mix and master the broadcast using Logic, with all the same Waves plugins that we use on the LV1. Week in and week out, we use the Waves eMotion LV1 live mixer in our broadcast suite.”

“We are running four Dell TouchScreen monitors in our setup,” Bookhout says about the church’s system; “Our DiGiGrid MGO optical MADI interface transports 128 channels between two MADI cards in our Midas Neutron and the Waves SoundGrid® network. We have a Waves SoundGrid Extreme Server to handle the plugin processing—we have almost every Waves plugin in our arsenal, and we are using many of them at any given time, so a powerful server is crucial. We also have a DiGiGrid IOC audio interface in our broadcast suite functioning as the LV1’s Local I/O to transport audio to our studio monitors. We run 48 channels of the Waves SuperRack at front-of-house, all I/Os being shared with the broadcast suite. So, we have 128 channels going on/off the Waves SoundGrid network, and the broadcast suite uses 72 channels while FOH has access to 48. We also utilize the SoundGrid Driver with a DAW for virtual sound check at both FOH and for broadcast, to get everything dialed in between our rehearsals and Sunday morning. That’s invaluable for us.”

On choosing the LV1, Bookhout says: “We were already running SoundGrid through our Midas console at FOH, so adding LV1 for broadcast was a no-brainer. Also, the ability to run Waves plugins on every channel as well as on the master gives us every tool needed to create an incredible mix. When broadcasting to Facebook and YouTube, mastering is ultra-important, and we are able to achieve great results that we were only able to hear previously when mastering in a DAW.”

He continues, “The LV1 is so easy to use! Training our volunteers and getting them up to speed on the LV1 was a breeze. The sound quality is superb, and having access to all the Waves plugins almost feels like cheating! We have many different singers, so we love being able to quickly save and recall channel strips for each vocalist, allowing us to pick up on their channel right where we left off.”

On having Waves plugins as an integral part of his workflow, Bookhout remarks, “On most of our vocal channels, we love using a chain that includes the Waves Primary Source Expander, Waves Tune Real-Time, Sibilance, the F6 Floating-Band Dynamic EQ, Renaissance Vox, the CLA 2A Compressor/Limiter or 76 Bluey and the C6 Multiband Compressor. The Primary Source Expander (PSE) is probably the smoothest gate that I’ve ever come across. It’s also super-easy to grab and tweak during a service. When going for Waves Tune Real-Time, we create a scene for each song, and then trigger the key, which works beautifully. I love how, when properly set up, this plugin does not sound artificial and takes vocals to the next level. I don’t know what the Waves Sibilance plugin does under the hood to de-ess, but it does a great job of only grabbing onto what you want to reduce without affecting the good stuff. Another favorite is using the Waves F6 with the RTA not only as a dynamic EQ, but also as our main channel EQ in most cases. If we had to do the whole service with only one plugin, this would be it, since it’s really a de-esser, EQ and dynamic EQ all in one. We tend to use the F6 on just about everything else. If I could only have one plugin, the F6 would be the easy choice!”

He continues, “Renaissance Vox sounds great as the first compressor in our vocal chain, to give a 4-6 db of gain reduction when the vocalist gets loud. It’s smooth and sounds great. In most cases, we love running the CLA 2A after the Renaissance Vox plugin in our vocal chain, to provide heavier compression. It really glues the vocal together. This thing really does sound like the real deal.”

New Hope Church’s campus in Durham, NC

New Hope Church’s campus in Durham, NC

“When it comes to guitars,” Bookhout says, “we use the C6 on electric guitars primarily to control and tame the harsh midrange on some vocals and guitar setups. The Waves Maserati ACG Signature Series plugin is an awesome tool for acoustic guitar that in my opinion doesn’t get enough credit. It’s easy to really warm up an acoustic in a way that almost sounds like we added in a really nice vintage tube pre-amp to the chain.”

“On drums, we have the Waves API 2500 on kick, snare and on our main drum buss. It is one of our go-to compressors. It is amazing how when you put it on the drum buss, and simply start with some of its presets: the whole drum set immediately starts sounding like one instrument rather than a bunch of different drums that don’t necessarily sound like they are all in the same space. Not to mention the plugin’s thrust function, which is our secret weapon. The PSE also comes in handy on kick, snare and toms. We actually have drum triggers on each of the skins that trigger PSE to open/close. I love the way its fast setting sounds on toms!”

He sums it up: “Adding eMotion LV1 into our streaming/broadcast workflow has greatly improved our mix quality. Having the ability to drop any Waves plugin on any channel at any time is powerful. When people tune in to our online broadcast, there is nothing more important than the mix. It doesn't matter how good our video is — if the audio is sub-par, people will quickly leave and watch something else. Waves gives us every tool we need to build the best online streaming mix possible, which allows us to create incredible worship experiences, week in and week out.”