CONTROLLING STAGE VOLUME FOR CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP
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While you may not think of it as an audio source, if you are using traditional stage monitors for your performers to be able to hear what they are doing, stage monitors do indeed contribute to the overall volume of your worship space. And while you do have control over the volume (and mix) of the stage monitors, you probably find that the level of your house mix will always need to be louder than it would need to be without the monitors turned on.
And while you may say even with your monitors turned on that the overall level of your house mix is not too loud for your congregation. A monitor mix will certainly make things harder for you to control the overall sound quality of your mix if the monitor mix is reflecting/bleeding back into your worship space.
Traditional Stage Monitors (a.k.a. WEDGES), also create the need for performers to compromise if they are sharing a monitor mix with one or more other performers. For example, if you have a vocalist who cannot hear themselves in a mix, or cannot hear the guitar they are playing in a mix, then they will want you to adjust the mix so they can hear themselves better. However if they are sharing this same monitor mix with someone else, the other person(s) may not need or appreciate the changes
One of the best ways to control the volume level that is coming from your monitors is to eliminate them entirely by transitioning your worship band to IN-EAR-MONITORS (earbuds that the performers wears while performing). While there is certainly a difference in worship experience that your performers will need to get use to (some more easily than others), the overall benefits of in-ear-monitors far outweighs any short term transition your worship team may need work through.
- Allow you to eliminate the sound that would have come from a traditional floor monitor, which in turn will allow you to better control and/or reduce the volume within your worship space overall
- It will allow your performers to adjust that they are hearing to a level which is specific to what they need, rather than having them deal with a stage monitor level that is too loud or soft for them.
- It will also allow your performers to adjust the monitor balance that is specific to their own in-ear-monitors, rather than having several performers listen to the same monitor mix which may not be ideal for everyone using that particular monitor mix.
- Finally from a control perspective, while an in-ear-monitor mix can be set up to be controlled by your sound engineer from the sound board, personal in-ear-mixers are available to allow your performers to control their own custom monitor mix, thereby freeing up your sound person to focus on the house mix and not even worry about the performers.
An interesting benefit: My Church has used personal In-Ear mixers for a number of years now, and because the bands are so use to them now, they can even practice without having me there to adjust monitor levels. I don’t even need to have the main speakers turned on for practice as they only listen through their in-ears now. I only turn the mains on for practice if I want to practice with them from the perspective of my sound mix, or if we have guests join us who want to listen to the band during practice.
Check back next week as we continue the discussion looking at drum shields.