The headquarters of Hillsong Buenos Aires is the Teatro Vorterix, one of the most renowned concert halls in Argentina. Every Sunday the challenge is to maintain a very high level of production, complying with strict schedules
33 years ago was born in Australia Hillsong Church, the church that puts a single condition to be part of it: "Come as you are," the rest, transformation, God makes. This is ensured by Esteban Grillo, production manager for Latin America.
At present the church has 15 offices worldwide: Australia, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Copenhagen, France, Germany, Kiev, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, Phoenix, South Africa, Stockholm, Zurich and soon Sao Paulo are the places in which Hillsong summons large crowds to hold their meetings that, at the production level, are closer to a world-class show than to a traditional church. There, the audience is immersed in a party of music, dance and lights in the best style of an international concert.
Particularly in Buenos Aires, the church began operating since November of 2015 with two meetings in November and two in December. Since January 2016 meetings are being held regularly every Sunday.
The headquarters of Hillsong Buenos Aires is the Teatro Vorterix, one of the most renowned concert halls in Argentina. "This space represented a challenge in relation to audio engineering, because although it offers the accessibility and capacity conditions that fit the needs of Hillsong Buenos Aires, it was a challenge to maintain the standard we have at a global level with the media with Which we count locally, although today we can see that we have optimized the resources to the maximum and in eight months we have reached the goal we set ourselves at the beginning of the year, "says Grillo.
Every Sunday, Esteban Grillo and his production team face the challenge of maintaining a very high level of production, complying with strict schedules so as not to leave a single detail of each presentation at random. Although the three games of the day are made between four in the afternoon and ten at night, the production group begins preparations the day before and continue to 8: 45 on Sunday morning.
Equipment for musicians and speakers
After evaluating various options in terms of brands and models of backline, transducers and RF, among others, and to exchange ideas with his colleagues in Australia (Steve Le Roux and Reid Wall), came to assemble equipment that today in Day offers maximum quality and 100% of the performance they need.
In this case it is not just musical instruments and vocalists, there are also speakers and each one has particularities, so it was necessary to analyze the style of each one when choosing the best microphone option.
For example, Chris Méndez, lead pastor of Hillsong in Latin America, often pulls the microphone away from his mouth and moves his hands. "So we use a headset with a ULXD1 for the central moment of the message; When the band goes up again, the headset does not perform in the same way, so Chris takes a handheld microphone. "After analyzing several options, I decided on the Shure KSM9. A condenser microphone has given me a better result than a dynamic one and the KSM9 capsule has incredibly clear and natural audio. I chose this capsule and not the KSM9HS because I use the cardioid polar pattern that has given me better results than the supercardioid, "explains engineer Grillo.
Then a BETA87A and a BETA58A are used that alternate according to the characteristics of the speaker who takes the stage.
With respect to the band's vocal microphones, Beta58 microphones are used today. As described by the engineer, "I tried to use KSM9 for the main vocals and despite the fact that the noise on the stage is extremely low, since we do not have any guitar equipment on stage but they are backstage in partially soundproof cases, and we use a Drumshield on the battery, I also had too much ambient noise in those microphones, so I made a change and I put all Beta58A and really the result that I'm getting with these microphones is great, like the one I got my whole life.
Regarding the RF system, after an extensive analysis of brands and models, they decided on the ULXDQ system, which presents some advantages that the engineer considered important:
It allows the use of rechargeable batteries and double charging docks, where each musician can leave loading their microphone and IEM pack with the advantage that when the microphone is switched on in the charging dock it automatically goes into standby mode, and In the same way it is activated when removed. In this way it was possible to reduce to zero the risk of the on-stage microphones going to the stage.
The quad base allows only two rack units to control eight different UHF channels.
They are digital, so in a much narrower bandwidth it is possible to assign several different RF channels.
They have a connection with Dante protocol, which allows to generate a network that not only controls the RF parameters but also transmits the digital audio of eight microphones by a single cable cat6, so that in the same network that is centralized in two switches CiscoSG200 ( Redundant system) you have control of the entire RF and digital audio. This saves eight converters and preamps from the consoles.
In the sound design it was decided to use four monitors in a line at the edge of the stage without using side fills or drum fill. Online monitors open only when a speaker raises the stage. All band and vocalists use intraural monitoring system.
After reviewing the available options, the engineers determined that the system best suited to their needs was the Shure PSM1000 for all vowels and guitars and Shure P9HW for positions with less movement like Drums, Bass and Keyboards. The eight Shure PSM1000 systems are connected to the Cisco SG200 switch, adding them to the RF network that is controlled through the 6 wireless Workbench. "In this way we interleave a wifi router and control our entire RF system from a MacBook Air or from any iPad or iPhone with the Shure Plus application. This is incredibly comfortable and practical, "says Grillo.
Finally, the set of microphones that are used on stage are, mostly, Shure microphones:
Kick in: Beta91A
SN Top: SM57
SN Bottom: SM81
The microphones of the guitars that the engineer chose for the cases are SM57, "we tried BETA57 and also tried another brand and there was nothing that gave us the result of the legendary SM57," he says. To complete the audio design, a vocal microphone with BETA58 cable was used on the stage, used by the musical director only for internal communication.
When asked why Shure chooses for all his projects? Esteban Grillo recalls his story:
"I've always been a Shure user, and most of the times I face a new project, I can find in any of the brand's products the tool I need to successfully carry out the task that I pose. On the other hand, Shure has a strong presence in the region, is the brand of microphones that most abound in professional audio companies in Buenos Aires. The results that I have always obtained with the brand have been excellent, I never had problems with any microphone. In fact, I've been touring with secular artists (outside the church setting) who had endorsement contracts with other brands and, on occasion, lamented the fact that I could not use a Shure microphone. "
Every Sunday, crowds attend Hillsong Buenos Aires and they all live a unique experience comparable only to a concert of international stars.
Behind the scene is a production team of more than 50 people who do an arduous and excellent work, taking care of every detail, creating every Sunday an environment where each person who attends can live a unique experience, connect with God and alone Have to deal with enjoying and allowing your life to be transformed.