By Daniel Quick
I work at Christ Community Church in the suburbs of Chicago. We are a medium-sized church (one larger main campus, three smaller regional campuses) that puts an emphasis on excellence –
especially when it comes to our weekend services. We have a full tech staff (full time lighting, video, and audio, with a technical director) and pride ourselves in getting the tech out of the way of the musicians and pastors that lead the church. This means making sure nothing is drawing attention away from what God is doing during the service. No stray lights, no distracting camera shots, and everyone can be heard every time all while providing a best-inclass worship atmosphere. Maintaining that level excellence requires access to a lot of different tools that helps solve those weird problems that arise.
Every now and again I peak my head up above the fence (so to speak) and look around for new tools to add to my “box of tricks” to further our purpose and help build reliability and excellence; using things that have been loaned to me and come in handy in a pinch or things that will solve common problems I regularly face often. I recently received two such tools from SESCOM: the inline microphone switch (SES-IL-LPTT) and the extreme hum killer (SES-IL-19). Both of these can solve some fairly common issues when I setup or operate church gigs.
First, the microphone switch. This seems like an odd thing to have around but let me tell you about two scenarios where this would have helped me recently. In our smaller rooms around Christ Community we don’t have fully featured sound boards like we do in our main production spaces. The talkback situation is just me yelling at the top of my lungs and praying the band hears me over their monitors. Having an inline microphone switch allows me to just plug in any mic to the board, drop the switch in and I have an easy talkback mic that can be turned on and off quickly. I know what you’re thinking: some boards have a button for this in the software, and you’d be right. However, in my experience, that button is rarely easy to access. A second common situation is the presence of band leader for worship sets. This is often a backline player tasked with calling out what part of the song will be played next. You can get microphones with switches on them but they aren’t very convenient to work with. However, with the microphone switch I can locate the switch anywhere that is convenient to a musician and fits how they play.
Then we have the “Extreme Hum Killer” as SESCOM likes to call it. We are pretty fortunate in our big room at our main campus to have some very clean power, but it’s a different story in other parts of the building or for our youth group when they go to camp. Many times we find ourselves running long XLR lines that cross whatever is in the way. Even balanced lines over long distances are susceptible to interference. The hum killer solves that problem. You can use it on inputs or outputs, which makes it very useful as you can address the problem head on, right where it is an issue. I received a single hum killer but it is sold in dual channel and six channel configurations which makes it really useful for those outdoor worship nights when you are getting power from a generator or a less than ideal source. Hum shows up randomly and often unpredictably so if you don’t have a way to address it already, be sure and pick up a few of these.
Both of these units are made in ABS plastic shells and feel rather sturdy. I did open them both up to find sturdy mounting and some silicon in each to keep everything in place. Both of them have a metal female XLR connector but a plastic male end. It is sturdy but under pressure might deform over time but this is only a minor concern. The switch on the inline mic switch feels really sturdy and after some testing and fidgeting it still feels great. Both of them can be used in either direction making them able to be used whenever and wherever they are needed. These units definitely have the build quality and internal components to be worthy of your attention. They definitely made the cut to be added to my “box of tricks” and would be a worthy addition to any church tech teams arsenal.
DANIEL QUICK IS THE AUDIO AND SYSTEMS DIRECTOR AT CHRIST COMMUNITY CHURCH HERE IN CHICAGO. WHILE HE SPECIALIZES IN THE AUDIO WORLD HIS PRODUCTION EXPERIENCE HAS ROOTS IN LIGHTING AND VIDEO AS WELL. HE’S MARRIED TO HIS WONDERFUL WIFE AMY AND HAS TWO SONS THAT KEEP HIM MOTIVATED AND INSPIRED TO LEARN NEW SKILLS AND HELP WHOEVER HE CAN ALONG THE WAY.