TFWM: Can you tell us about the importance of the worship market for Roland Systems Group and the EDIROL and RSS brands?
JB: It’s very important. Most of our products are designed to be used in what is generally referred to as the live performance market. There are essentially several hundred thousand “live events” that occur weekly across the continent in the form of church services. Using audio and video technology in a worship environment has evolved over the last 10 years and is now critical to a church’s effectiveness in connecting with the culture. Our products are designed specifically to help houses of worship stay current and relevant.
TFWM: In your many travels around the world training houses of worship, what are some of the most frequent questions you get?
JB: I don’t think there are specific questions that are common to everyone. What we do get are questions about how to do certain visual or aural things that someone saw or heard somewhere and now want to replicate in some way at their church. Maybe how to be more visually spontaneous or perhaps the use of multi-screen video. From the audio side questions tend to be more around the transition to digital mixing systems and the benefits of on-board effects and install recall. We unpack or unravel what seems to be a mystery and show how achievable the solutions are.
TFWM: What was some of the thought process behind the design of the M-48 Personal Mixing System?
JB: We asked seasoned musicians, who have been using personal mixing for years, what features they were enjoying and what features they were looking for. The number-one request was for “more channels”. However, we found this response was based on current personal mixing systems’ inability to customize and personalize mixing sources. The follow-up question then became, “If you could choose what you wanted to listen to, how many channels would you need?” We found most answers were between four and twelve channels (stereo). This fundamental premise led us to design a personal mixing system that allows musicians to select, group and assign the sources that are meaningful to them.
We also added a number of other requests including the ability to sweeten their mix with volume, pan, 3-band EQ and built-in reverb – adjustable by individual knobs. With a built-in ambient mic, limiter and lots of ins and outs, the feedback from musicians has been outstanding.
TFWM: Do you think the intuitiveness in many of your products has been brought about by requests from house of worship users?
JB: Absolutely. A key part of why we participate in trainings, events and shows for the worship market is to gather valuable feedback that informs, updates and contributes to new products. Nothing can replace actually talking, and more importantly, listening to the user. You must personally spend time understanding users workflow and needs through one-on-one interaction. There is no fast track or substitute for this. It also helps that I have real-world experience as a touring musician and as a worship leader in my home church.
Take our M-400 Digital Mixing Console, for example – part of the V-Mixing System. The house of worship user was a critical part of the design process. The market response has since confirmed that it is an easy to learn and therefore an easy to use live audio mixing and recording solution. At the same time it has full respect and acceptance from seasoned pros but yet is not overwhelming to the volunteer church audio tech. The V-Mixing System success story is due in large part to our methodical requirements gathering process.
TFWM: What’s next on the horizon for Edirol/RSS?
JB: If you’ve tracked Roland over the years then you know we are constantly innovating and therefore launch multiple products per year. Look for a new product from the EDIROL video line this fall that will particularly help the church in expanding their visual look. As well, from our RSS audio side, you’ll see more components being added to the V-Mixing System lineup.