CONTROLLING STAGE VOLUME FOR CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP
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AMPLIFIER ISOLATION BOXES
The final culprits in sound sources which can drift out of the direct control of the sound tech are guitar amplifiers. Traditionally electric guitar players have their amplifiers on stage next to them, and we mic those amplifiers in such a way that allows us to boost or cut the level of the electric guitar as needed. But as was the case with the drum kit, the level of an electric guitar amp can easily become excessive beyond a level that can be effectively controlled by your sound tech.
As with the drummer, communication with the guitar player is an effective first step in trying to get the volume of a guitar amp under control. It could be as simple as turning the amp so its energy (from either the front of back of the amp) is directed off stage. Alternatively diplomatically explaining to the guitar player that “you love what they are doing, but that you do not have any control over the volume of his guitar volume” , may be all that is needed to get them to turn their amp down to a level which is controllable by you as the sound person.
But ultimately you still do not have complete control over the guitar amp, and it will still contribute adversely to the overall stage volume you have been trying to minimize. So as with the drum shield, you might consider a couple of options:
- You could consider placing your guitar amps in an Isolation Box/Cabinet and micing the guitar amp from within the isolation cabinet. This will allow you to have full control over the guitar level, but it is not without its own drawbacks. For example some guitarists want to hear their guitar directly from their amp, so putting it in an isolation box is not always a popular option initially for an electric guitar player. At the same time thought needs to be giving to the guitar amp itself as it needs to have some ventilation so it does not overheat and cause potential damage an expensive (and perhaps loved) piece of gear.
- Alternatively, some guitar amps will allow you turn off the speakers in the amp cabinet and simply send the audio feed directly into your sound system without amplifying the guitar from the cabinet. But again your guitarist(s) may not favour in only being able to hear their guitar in their in-ear or floor monitors.
Good luck in getting everything under control. Just keep in mind that the best starting place is to work with your worship team and musicians in finding solutions to your audio challenges.