We’re touching bases with two industry experts to see how the last few years of technology improvements have impacted the portable church.
Jim Kumorek · February 8, 2018
“A lot of churches are able to get into digital audio setups for a reasonable investment,” says Banter. “Many manufacturers have affordable digital solutions. And the introduction of PA systems where there’s no dedicated hardware console has made a big impact on the portable church. There’s no front-of-house position to set up—it’s all controlled wirelessly via an iPad.”
This brings the same flexibility that the iPad lighting system described earlier has into your audio system.
“These systems work well,” Banter continues, “provide a lot of flexibility, and makes the system more affordable. Movie theaters don’t have a good place for a front-of-house position, and this makes it easier for the band to have individual monitors as well.”
“Traditionally, if you wanted to set up individual monitors,” elaborates Gardner, “you had to run a lot of Ethernet cable. With an Aviom system, you were looking at $500-$600 per musician. Now, all the new digital consoles have personal mixing software built in that is controlled via the band-member’s smart phone and Wi-Fi to the audio console. It can be as little as $50 for a wired headphone amplifier, or for a larger investment you can go with wireless in-ear systems to reduce setup time even further and increase flexibility.”
“It also seems like speaker manufacturers are catering to the portable market now as well, says Banter. “The speaker cabinets used to be gigantic. d&b audiotechnik, for example, now has small boxes that sound great and are super portable. We now have access to great sounding systems that fit into a portable rig.”
All of these AVL improvements combined have lessened the power load required by portable church systems.
“It used to be you needed six dedicated 20-amp circuits for a portable church AVL system,” describes Banter. “Now you can configure a system that needs only two or three circuits. In spaces like a gym or movie theater, power circuits and outlets are very limited, so this is a huge benefit.”
Audio, video, and lighting technology isn’t the only areas where technology has influences the portable church. Social media is also making its impact on those that serve in the AVL space.
“It does seem like there’s a lot more community between church techs happening in Facebook and other social media sites,” says Banter. “Churches are talking to each other more about doing portable church, sharing experiences and helping each other out.”
The shape of the portable church seems to be shifting as well. Banter says, “Churches are making a shift towards the smaller church movement. We’re seeing a lot of churches that used to do big multi-site campuses that are now doing things smaller and simpler. We’re providing a lot of systems that are simpler and not the ‘big show’ that churches used to prefer. The focus has shifted to building communities that are smaller and more intentional.”
Clearly, today’s portable churches are experiencing the benefits from technological advancements. It will be exciting to see what the next few years of advancement will hold for the future of churches on the move.
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