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In the world of Church Audio for Contemporary Worship there are a number of challenges you will be faced with in both setting/balancing the house mix as well as the mix for the performers on stage so that everyone is happy.  A key to being able to do this effectively from a sound perspective starts with being able to effectively control ALL sound sources in your worship space.

So as an example, you might think you have the best audio set-up in the world (sparing no expense in buying the best speakers, amplifies mixers, processing gear, etc.).  However if you have an electric guitar in your mix that you cannot effectively control the volume on, or a drum kit which is always excessively loud, then you will have a problem.

In its most basic form, if you have one (or more)  music sources that are too loud which you cannot easily adjust from the sound board, then you only have a couple of choices in mixing audio levels(both front-of-house as well as on-stage):

  • You can either turn up everything else to a point where you have a good balance of music sources. But in most cases this just means that you will end up with something that is just too loud for what you really want.
  • Alternatively, you can speak to the performer(s) who is playing too loud and try and see if you can get them to turn down their amp, or play softer (in the case of a loud drum kit) to the point where it is more in line with the mix you are trying to achieve.  This is sometimes an exercise in diplomacy. But regardless you will not be able to balance things well as the dynamics of a set list change if you do not have direct control to be able to adjust the level of all audio sources.
  • You can also choose to do nothing and just mix the audio sources you do have control over (which is unfortunately where a great deal of Churches find themselves). But as you might guess this lends itself to a mix which is not very good in the end.

If you have any instrument you are mixing on your sound board that is too loud and you either can’t turn it down quiet enough (or alternatively make everything else loud enough) to get a good mix.  Then you have a problem.  A quick check for this is if you mute your lead guitar (as an example),  and you hear no difference in your front-of-house mix.  Then you don’t have control over your mix, and you need to have control to be able to do your job correctly.

In the world of audio for worship music there are a number of different audio sources that can be a challenge in controlling from an overall volume perspective.  So over the next few blogs let’s look at a few different solutions that allow you to control audio sources that are traditionally difficult for you to control the level in your mix.