Does Your Church Have A Sound Plan?
Here are four questions to ask yourself:
1. Is your room optimized?
2. Do you have the band going in the wrong direction of the room?
The praise band should ALWAYS play to the long side of the room. There are many sound issues that will work against you otherwise. Although this might create some headaches if you have to completely break down and rebuild the room layout and chairs, it is worth the effort.
Paul Dexter noted: “As system designers we enjoy the challenge to build a system with even coverage in either configuration. We agree with the leaderships reasons to orient the room in either way, but have to accept the challenge to make it work.”
3. Sound treatment: has any attempt been made to condition the sound of the room?
If your walls are bare, you will produce large amounts of multiple frequency reflections called reverb. Too much uncontrolled reverb will cause the sound to be muddy. You can spend more money than you can imagine on sound treatment. However, some is better than nothing at all.
The pros from Churchmix can’t fix your system, but they can teach the staff how to listen and identify room or equipment problems. Paul Dexter offers a very simplistic room litmus test: “Play a CD through the PA, how does it sound? If it sounds great, you’re on the right track. Otherwise, you have equipment or room problems.”
Paul equates mixing sound to a Nascar. “A Nascar is incredibly hard to drive, much less if the car pulls to the right, second gear’s not working, and the brakes are squishy until you hit the bottom of the floor board. A lay person could barely drive the car if it’s in perfect condition, not to mention if it’s in poor condition. Most of the companies installing worship sound systems will only teach you what the knobs do. They don’t teach you how to creatively construct a mix. Church Mix teaches how to drive or best operate a sound console.”
4. So what is a sound plan?
The best plan is implemented prior to the installation of the sound, lighting, and production system. However, If you’re like most worship facilities, your system is in place and in use.
Here are a few steps to take to construct your sound plan:
- Document everything. From the stage setup to the PA wiring, to song notes. Don’t forget to include notes on electrical wiring. Know the maximum amperage of each circuit, where the different circuits reside and the breaker box. When a grounding problem is occurring or power goes out in the middle of the service, that is not the time to learn the layout.
- Create a folder containing plastic pockets to hold your pages. Set up a tab for each major category. Why? To reduce downtime when all goes wrong. And eventually it will!
- A great sound person will know his or her craft and will work from notes the same as the worship team. Notes should include the balance of guitars, vocals, effects, volume levels, and EQ.
Perhaps you’re not in a place to understand and develop a sound plan. Sometimes you just need time and experience. Churchmix is a wonderful place to begin….
Follow this link for Part Two of the ChurchMix Series – ChurchMix: Overcome Inconsistent Sound Quality in Worship!