What does a Worship Leader REALLY want? in a Sound Person?

According to worship leaders, what are the most important aspects of being a church sound operator?

I’ve been doing an informal survey on this topic, asking worship leaders for their views.

The answers have been surprising, at least to me. For example, to this point not one of them has mentioned that a sound operator should have musical talent. Nor have they brought up the value of having a critical ear when it comes to music.

Maybe it’s my own biases, but I thought these factors would at least rate a mention.

Here’s another one that hasn’t come up: knowing how to properly operate the equipment and system.

Perhaps the worship leaders I’ve surveyed are assuming that a sound person should already have these skills, and therefore haven’t mentioned them. Continue reading “What does a Worship Leader REALLY want? in a Sound Person?”

Sometimes You Need To Be Able To Dance As Good As (Or Better) Than You Mix

What can we do to sort it out, meet needs, and help them put on the best performance possible?

The venue where I serve as technical director has recently had a number of touring acts come through.

With each tour, there are always special technical requirements that the artists need, particularly in these tight economic times where few of them are able to travel with everything they need.

The last three events, the venue was responsible for providing the entire house system, and for two of them, I served as the front of house engineer.

When a tour group comes to a venue they never know what they’re going to get. Yes, the rider said six separate wireless in-ear monitor systems, but the venue only has two and is unwilling to rent any more. Yes, the rider said the PA needs to hit peaks of 110 dBA, but the installed system can only hit 95 dBA. I know, I know… Continue reading “Sometimes You Need To Be Able To Dance As Good As (Or Better) Than You Mix”

L-Acoustics ARCS WiFo Leads System Retrofit At Radiant Church In Michigan

From its start in 1996 as a small independent plant by Grandville, Michigan’s Resurrection Life Church, Radiant Church in the Richland suburb of Kalamazoo has steadily grown its membership to 3,500 members.

Recently expanding its service count to four each weekend – two on Saturday and two on Sunday – the church also freshly upgraded the audio facilities of its 1,050-seat sanctuary with a new ARCS “WiFo” (Wide and Focus) loudspeaker system from L-Acoustics.

Parkway Electric & Communications of Holland, MI provided the design and integration of the new system, which replaced an outdated PA rife with hot/dead spots and uneven low-frequency coverage. The installation and commissioning process took Parkway only four days, which also included re-purposing the previous rig for the church’s youth facility. Continue reading “L-Acoustics ARCS WiFo Leads System Retrofit At Radiant Church In Michigan”

Church Sound: Upgrading Essential System Components

“How do I get the biggest change in my sound quality for the smallest investment?”

I’m often asked this question from cash-strapped churches that need a sound system upgrade but don’t have the funds to accomplish it all at once.

If it’s the sound operator who approaches me first, his goal is usually to get a new mixing board. If it’s the worship leader, he’s usually focused on microphones and/or monitors.

Then there’s the pastor, who’s most often interested in the solution that will get everybody else to stop bothering him.

So what’s the answer? Continue reading “Church Sound: Upgrading Essential System Components”

Taking Care Of Business

Avoiding unnecessary bumps in the road through careful planning, maintenance and teamwork…

Talking with sound technicians and worship leaders, I often hear the complaint that from week to week, the quality of Sunday morning varies. I’ve determined that some of this is from training, such as when there’s a problem and the tech doesn’t know how to fix it. Some of it’s skill; certain folks simply have a better ear and command of the equipment than others.

On the same hand, the skill level of the musicians may also vary. I’ve found that with inexperienced musicians, the level at which they’re playing can fluctuate greatly. I attribute this primarily to a lack of confidence. When they know the song they “bang” it out, but when they’re unsure, they hold back.

Today I’d like to focus on another contributor to the problem of inconsistency: equipment status and organization.

Example Time
It’s 5 minutes before the start of the service and you’re sweating bullets as you have to set up 4 additional players that the worship leader never told you in advance were “joining in with the band.” You’re thinking, “Great, no time for sound check, much less a simple line check!”

You dutifully plug in the mics and direct boxes, and position them as best you can. You then high-tail it to the sound booth for the start of the service. Thankfully you make it with enough time to guess at the input gain and monitor levels, say a quick prayer, and unmute those channels for the opening song.

Then it happens: that infamous bzzzzzzzzzzzzz that makes everyone’s hair stand on end! You throw on your headphones and determine it’s the direct box that the bass player is plugged into. This is when you’re forced to make a split decision as to what to do.

You decide rather than race to the stage to see if the line chord from the bass is bad, if the ground lift on the direct box needs to be switched, or if your mic chord is bad, you’ll just mute the bass player’s channel and work on the mix. Plus you’re thinking that at least his bass rig is working and that output will spill into the house.

So, how many times has this, or something like it, happened you? Was it preventable? Of course it was! As I always say, it’s the simple stuff that kills us. So how could all this have been prevented? Continue reading “Taking Care Of Business”

Missing The Action

This past Sunday I was out of town, and I missed the action. Did I enjoy the time away with my family? Yes. Am I glad that I took the time away? Yes. But still I missed it and I think that is not only okay its good. Now I would not trade the time away, but the feeling of missing out was present.

On Monday, I attended our weekly worship planning meeting. During that meeting I learned that the team performed their tasks flawlessly. It is awesome to be away and to not have to worry about whether or not things will go well. There is a huge difference between being fearful of something going wrong and feeling like you missed the action. Continue reading “Missing The Action”

Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit

Loving the led wall….. After a little scare on the satellite feed for the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit

Great speakers, great content, and spectacular looking video!    I am seriously considering replacing my main screen (9’x16′) with an led wall.  The technology is there and price is dropping.

Midas M32 Demo Recap

Recently I had the opportunity to get a hands on sneak peek with the Midas M32. In my circles I have never seen so much anticipation or “hype” about a new piece of gear. In this case the “hype” doesn’t necessarily come from Midas (other than they announced it WAY before they were able to ship and have moved the ship date back numerous times). The “hype” is from the people that either own an X32, have had experience on an X32 or the ones who can’t believe you can buy a Midas Desk for $5,000.00. Continue reading “Midas M32 Demo Recap”