- I started going on stage and started listening to the wedge monitors on stage. They had never had anyone up to that point ever do that.
This article is part of a series called The Top 10 Mistakes Church Sound People Make With Mixing Consoles. We’re on number 2. Go here for part 1.
#2 – Not listening to the monitor from the musician’s position
One of the big disconnects in live music today is the relationship between the sound person and the “artist”. Now, I have worked on symphony orchestra events that are union and you will never have the luxury of connecting with artists on stage. Your connections must be working when the conductor hits the stage, and he/she does NOT want you on stage. You will likely be escorted off stage if you go within his sightline. (Yes, I learned that the hard way). But we are talking about church sound, so the relationship is between the lead worshippers (praise team/band) and the tech crew.
I mixed monitors at a large “mega” church about 20 years ago. They used 2 different brands of monitors on stage. They had Tannoy Cougars, which was a 15” dual concentric design, and EAW SM500s. Both of these monitors sounded good. However, the voicing was drastically different between the two of them. So I got one spare of each and wired them up to the monitor console so I could hear what they were hearing. Each monitor was voiced so differently you could not make the same EQ adjustments on each and have the same results.
I started going on stage and started listening to the wedge monitors on stage. They had never had anyone up to that point ever do that. Yes, I had the same monitors they were using, but I still wanted to hear it in their acoustic environment, and I was able to give them better mixes. It was, of course, an analog mixer back then, so I documented settings and tried to duplicate them every week, making adjustments as needed. When some players moved to IEMs, I tried to keep up and bought a pair and mixed their feed on In-Ear Monitors also.
But, the most important result of all of this was that I built a bond with the musicians on stage. They got the impression that I cared. (and I really did…) I would go to each player at the beginning of sound check, during, and at the end of rehearsal to see if they were OK with their mix.
Please note that even if your musicians are using IEMs (In Ear Monitors), their acoustical environment will be different from where you are mixing. They may have leakage in their ears from standing next to the drums, guitar amp, or (you name it!).
It is a rare situation when vocalists on a praise team know how to mix their own monitors. That can be said for any church musician. Especially musicians that are new to IEMs, so you serving your people on stage by helping them with the mix will build trust and build relationships. In the end, whatever the mix sounds like, the relationships are what the Lord really cares about.
So, with that, happy Mixing and try to create an environment for worship!
READ MORE TIPS
- #10 – Signal Flow At The Front End of the Mixer
- #9 – Not Knowing The Signal Flow In The Mixer
- #8 – Improper Gain Staging
- #7 – Abusing EQ On The Channel Strip
- #6 – Adjusting House EQ to Correct Lapel Microphone Feedback
- #5 – Misuse of Compression
- #4 – Overuse of Plug-ins
- #3 – Mixing Levels With A Sound Meter
- #2 – Not Listening to the Monitor from the Musician’s Position
- #1 – Mixing on Snapshots Alone
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Michael is a 35+ year industry veteran with a passion for training in the technical arts. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Ministry and Worship Arts. He has a background that includes touring, system design, and consulting, and he has been on church staff as an Audio Engineer, Technical Director, Media pastor, and Worship Pastor. He has been a technical consultant for Air Force Entertainment, written curriculum for Christ for the Nations, and served as Adjunct Professor in the Worship and Tech Arts degree Program. He has been involved in sales and training for numerous manufacturers. He founded LiveWorshipAcademy.com, the first online certification program for church volunteers in the technical arts, and is the Director of Content. He is able to speak into the lives of both artistic and technical individuals, teaching technology as well as the worship theology behind it.