WFX 2011 Dallas – Top 5
My feet are sore and my brain a little fried. Just finished the expo portion of the 2011 Worship & Facilitates Expo. This was my second year attending, it was nice to gain perspective on the event as an alumni so to speak.
This post is going to be my top 10, in my humble opinion. Obviously I attend to find tools and resources applicable to my job in my church. You will notice almost no IMAG products, because, we don’t use or need IMAG. These are items or companies that stuck in my brain mostly because they solve an issue I have, or I just loved it.
#1 – DPA – d:fine // more info // Headworn Microphone
So you love the sound of the favorite 4066 or 4088 DPA capsule but the two-ear design, well, is awkward? You love your Countryman E6, but it keeps floating away from your pastors face? This new mic from DPA makes me very happy. Our lead pastor consistently struggles with a mic that won’t stay in place. I have fiddled, molded, re molded his mic so many times. It is a constant worry I live with – it’s is sad that a mic could be so distracting and challenging. As you may imagine, I was overcome with joy when I tried this new DPA mic on. I held right to my ear, without pressure, and would NOT move. I looked silly as I bopped my head to and fro trying to get it to budge. Simple, Clean, and Easy. Also nice is how modular it is. The ear mount, boom, and cable are all separable, so a piece gets broke, or you want to switch to a beige instead of black boom, no problem. Great work to the design team on this one, they nailed it. These are looking to start shipping soon. Price in the $650 range would be my best guess, but I really am not sure.
#2 – Elite Core – PM-16 // more info // Personal Monitor Mixers
I bumped into Jeff Pavelec from Stark Raving Solutions on the floor and asked the ‘see anything amazing’ type of question. He asked if I had seen this Elite Core PM-16. I engaged the puzzled look and said “What?” I had never heard of Elite Core, but made an assumption that it was another silly expensive product trying to play in the land of Roland’s M-48 & My Mix personal mixers. I told Jeff, I want a 16 channel product priced between HearBack (yech) and Avioms. He stood up and led me to their booth. It is that product. FINALLY! It addresses some ever present concerns with Aviom A) The plastic body that tends to crack when it tips over, and B) The headphone amplifier that just lacks the presence and power many musicians would prefer. The casing is steel with dial guards to help even more. The knobs are smooth and have a nice resistance level to them. It offers the simplest method I have seen for personal mixing. 16 volume knobs, 16 pan knobs, an on-board ambience mic, basic 3 band EQ, a single nob compressor/limiter, and a master volume. Simple. You do lose the mix-saving ability, but at a better price and easier use, I think the trade of is worth it. This is a NEW company, but they have a solid, US made, product. The input option is one – a 16 channel analog input 1RU device. It outputs to a POE network switch then drops to the mixers from there. No limit to the number of mixers, but like Aviom, if you daisy chain, you need to add a power supply to the 2nd unit. These will probably find their way into our Youth venue very soon. I did not see enough of a reason to ditch our existing Aviom system, but, unless the saving option is a ‘must have’, I cannot see every buying another Aviom rig.
#3 – German Light Products – Impression Spot One // more info // Led Moving Head
I love LED’s, and it has been awesome to see the advances of LED technology grow so fast. This fixture impressed me in several ways. Main great feature – truly high output LED moving head spot with real moving head options. This unit serves up a mean 400 watt LED light source that competes with the light output of over 1k discharge fixtures. It does a daylight white that is even and clean, edge to edge. No shadowing or color rainbows at the edge. It handles the hard orange-yellow spectrum beautifully. 2 full featured gobo wheels plus an effect wheel. You can layer the gobos and effects, and toss in any color that this pristine RGB chip can mix. 20,000 hour light-source expected life, quite and cool chassis, and low power draw for great output. This will land in the $10k range, making it comparable with like-output full featured units from other groups. They said the RGB ship is manufactured by a projector company, which may help explain the excellent color mixing engine in this baby.
#4 – Littlite – LW-12-LED // more info // Utility Light
I love utility. What is more utility than a light? We own many of Littlite’s LED gooseneck lights around FBC, with a 3 postion switch of OFF, RED, WHITE+RED. No dimming options to speak of. I know this sounds petty, but I want a dimming version! Now they make one. It took a little modifying of the base to get the new custom-made dimmer to fit, but they got it done. It starts at off, fades in the 3 RED LEDs, and once those are full up, it adds the white LED’s until you have the perfect brightness. The new base also has a standard detachable DC barrel, so no permanent pig tail.
#5 – Ashly Audio – PEMA // more info // DSP + Amplifier
So far the products in my Top 10 have been ones I would practically use. This is one that does not fit my needs, but it would fit many smaller churches, funeral homes, chapel, and other small-venue needs perfectly. This 2 Rack-Unit 25 pound class D amplifier is far more than it appears. It packs up to 8 250 watt outputs with a full on-board DSP. Not a wimpy baby DSP, a full feature Protea DSP. Automixing, Tele-Paging Ducking, 70v options, Delays, Compression, 8 on-board mic preamps, auto feedback surpression and more. In 2RU. 25 pounds. Network Enabled. They even have the Decora-Style wall plate with presets to run the DSP. All of this, not kidding, less than $3000. Small church this could run mains, monitor mixes, foyer, nursery, a recording output, and something else.
Thats it for tonight, I have other thoughts to share, but will attack that enroute back to Topeka tomorrow. The next post will talk about great products from Teradek, ETC, RSC, DB Technologies, Danley Sound Labs, and Nexo.